Young, malnourished bear rescued off Aspen Mountain |

Young, malnourished bear rescued off Aspen Mountain

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times

ASPEN – An underweight, yearling black bear, found Monday on the back of Aspen Mountain, is now under the care of a wildlife rehabilitation center near Silt.

A woman found the bear near Midnight Mine Road and brought it to the Aspen Animal Shelter, according to ReRe Baker, animal safety director for Pitkin County. No other information about the bear’s rescuer, or how she managed to collect the animal and get it to the shelter, was available.

Baker transported the caged bear to the Colorado Division of Wildlife office in Glenwood Springs, where a volunteer with the Pauline S. Schneegas Wildlife Foundation’s rehabilitation center picked it up and transported it to the Silt facility.

The bear is a year old, and should have come out of hibernation weighing 30-plus pounds, according to the center’s founder, Nanci Limbach. The animal weighs 13 pounds.

“It’s at death’s door,” Limbach said. “It still might not survive.”

Limbach said it’s difficult to know why the yearling emerged from its den now, though it’s not unusual for some bears to begin emerging in the first warm days of March. It could have died in its den had it not come out, she said. There’s also no way of knowing the bear’s circumstances last fall, though it was apparently underweight when it began hibernating.

The bear was alert in the cage, and chomping its teeth, according to Baker, who described the yearling as “cute as a button.”

Nonetheless, it is still in its lethargic, hibernation state and not willing to eat, Limbach said. The bear is receiving fluid therapy and antibiotics, and being force fed yogurt through a syringe, she said.

Limbach hasn’t yet determined the bear’s gender.

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