On Wednesday, Jan. 27, Colorado Parks and Wildlife returned five orphaned black bear cubs to the wild, by "denning" them on Pikes Peak. Of the five cubs, two were orphaned after a homeowner in Colorado Springs shot and killed their mother, in an incident that remains under investigation. Two were orphaned when their mom had to be put down by CPW after it attacked a person in Manitou Springs, and one was reported as being abandoned, according to CPW District Wildlife Manager for Teller County, Tim Kroening. Kroening said the cub that was reported as being abandoned was monitored by CPW and was captured after it was determined that its mother was not returning to take care of it.
The cubs, which weighed around 100 pounds each, were sent to Wet Mountain Wildlife Rehabilitation to prepare for life on their own in the wild. Once they were deemed to be mature enough to live on their own, they were returned to CPW. On Wednesday, the cubs were tranquilized and transported to their new homes in artificial dens CPW built on both the north and south slopes of Pikes Peak. Once there, the cubs, still tranquilized, were placed in their dens where it was expected that they would roam around their new homes for a short time after waking up, before returning to the dens and going to sleep (called torpor) until spring.
CPW officials also took the denning event to remind residents in Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs west of I-25 that they are now required by municipal ordinances to keep their trashcans inside a building until the morning of trash pickup or in bear proof containers. Doing so helps keep bears from coming into residential areas looking for food, and reduces human-bear encounters.
In other news, with the announcement earlier this week that Mueller State Park will be grooming some of its trails for cross-country skiing, it's a good time to mention winter trail etiquette. Cross country skiing requires relatively flat, even and packed surfaces. If you're snowshoeing or hiking on a trail that has been groomed for cross-country skiing, or you see cross-country ski tracks on the trail, do the right thing and stay off the groomed surface and off of the cross-country ski tracks. Going to one side of the groomed surface or of the ski tracks will allow cross-country skiers to have a good outdoor experience.
Be Good. Do Good Things.