On the evening of Wednesday, Oct. 4, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers responded to a call for help that was initially described as a bear attack with injuries involving two boys in a heavily wooded open space in Colorado Springs.
Officers immediately responded, arriving around 5:30 p.m. to find an aggressive sow had twice charged at the boys, ages 12 and 13, causing one boy to run into a tree branch, suffering a minor injury.
The CPW officers, along with officers with the Colorado Springs Police Department, immediately began a search of the open space to find the sow, estimated to be 150 pounds, and her two cubs, each weighing about 50 pounds.
Quickly, they found the sow. The bear was aggressive toward the officer, as it had threatened the boys, and the CPW officer euthanized the bear.
Then the team began an hours-long search in the darkness in heavy brush for the cubs. The goal was to capture them and release them in the mountains in more suitable bear habitat. At their age and weight, the cubs were old enough to survive on their own.
Officers placed a trap above the spot where the bears were first encountered.
Meanwhile, a CSPD drone was brought to the scene to search for heat signatures that would locate the bears. The cubs were located and officers scared them up a tree so they could be tranquilized.
CPW officers darted each cub with a tranquilizing drug, causing them to fall from the tree. The officers then carried them out of the brush and drove them to the CPW Southeast Region office where they were tagged for release and given a drug to reverse the tranquilizer. However, one of the cubs never revived.
The surviving cub was released Friday morning in a remote mountain location.
“This was an unfortunate situation where a sow had become dangerously aggressive toward people instead of being scared of humans,” said Tim Kroening, CPW wildlife manager for the Pikes Peak area. “There was no choice but to put it down after it repeatedly charged people.
“And the death of the cub was a sad reminder of why CPW is reluctant to tranquilize wildlife. There are many risks involved when tranquilizing wildlife.”