HomeOutdoorsColorado Wildlife Officers Build Den for Five Orphaned Bear Cubs

Colorado Wildlife Officers Build Den for Five Orphaned Bear Cubs

by Chris Haney
(Photo by Jessica Matthews/For The Washington Post via Getty Images )

On Friday, Colorado Parks and Wildlife built two dens for five orphaned bear cubs with the hopes that the animals will hibernate inside the structures.

The orphaned black bear cubs will hopefully take to the newly built dens on Pikes Peak. The mountain top is the highest summit of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. Officials want to give the young cubs a safe place to hibernate in the area.

Wildlife officers with CPW announced that they plan to release the five bear cubs next week. The animals have been in rehab to correct behaviors taught to them by their sows. The cubs learned dangerous habits from their mother, including viewing human homes and their garbage as food sources.

CPW SE Region’s official Twitter account shared details and photos of the two man-made dens. The pictures show multiple wildlife officers creating artificial dens out of tree limbs, tree trunks, and packed snow. The plan is that the cubs will be inserted into the dens next week. If everything goes to plan, when they wake up in the spring, their natural instincts will take over. They’ll eat natural food instead of human garbage and continue to prosper in the wild.

“Rather than just turn cubs loose in the woods, @COParksWildlife’s Frank McGee prefers to build artificial dens packed with snow & insert the sleeping cubs. When they awaken in spring, instincts will take over. Instead of human garbage, they’ll eat natural foods & live wild,” CPW explained on Twitter.

Black Bear Kills Woman in Rare Incident

Last weekend, a woman visiting her family at a remote cabin on Red Pine Island was killed by a black bear. The secluded island is in the waters of Ontario, Canada, just north of the Minnesota border.

Catherine Sweat-Mueller, 62, of Minnesota allegedly went outside to check on her barking dogs. However, she never returned and one of the dogs came back injured. Therefore, Sweat-Mueller’s parents called the police.

As the officers arrived at the scene, they located a black bear standing over Sweat-Mueller’s body. Subsequently, officials shot and killed the large bear to retrieve her remains.

“The family is, of course, very devastated. The officers on the scene were fairly devastated to deliver the news. … We can’t believe a bear attacked a person,” Police Constable Jim Davis told NBC News.

The rare attack shocked locals and wildlife officials. The black bear’s remains will undergo a necropsy (animal autopsy) to help pinpoint if there were any abnormalities in the animal.

In the history of reported attacks in Minnesota, only 14 cases of black bear attacks have ever bee recorded, according to CBS Minnesota. In fact, none of the previous encounters have been fatal.

Dave Garshelis, a bear researcher from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, said that this kind of fatal black bear attacks happens once a year in all of North America. Attacks from a grizzly bear happen about twice a year.

“They’re very unaggressive bears. If you ever approach a black bear closely, typically they’ll see you and run off,” Garshelis explained.