Injured bear cub rescued at Colorado fire expected to be OK

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) — An orphaned bear cub with painful burns on her paws has been rescued from a Colorado wildfire and is being nursed back to health.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers said Friday they believe she’ll recover well enough to be returned to the wild.

The cub is 4 or 5 months old and weighed just 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) when she was rescued.

Firefighters spotted her wandering alone in a burned-over area north of Durango in southwestern Colorado last week. They notified Parks and Wildlife on June 22 because there was no sign of her mother. Officers don’t know how the mother and cub became separated.

Wildlife officers found her in a tree, immobilized her with a tranquilizer dart and took her to a state wildlife facility.

The cub is being treated with salve, bandages, antibiotics and pain medication. She’s being fed solid food and a liquid milk replacement.

“When the bear was brought in, I wasn’t sure if it was going to make it,” Michael Sirochman said, manager of the wildlife facility. “But she’s responding very well to treatment and by winter we believe we’ll be able to return her to the wild.”

She spends most of her time lying on her side to keep her weight off the painful wounds, Sirochman said.

Caretakers are minimizing their contact with the cub so she won’t become accustomed to humans, which would make it difficult for her to survive in the wild.

After she heals, she’ll be placed in an enclosure with four other cubs at the wildlife facility. They could be released this winter.

“We have good luck returning young bears to the wild,” Sirochman said.” We’re very strict about minimizing human contact.”

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