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From nab to nap

Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson
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A 1-year-old cinnamon bear unexpectedly became part of an intensive study by the Colorado Division of Wildlife Friday. The yearling female who had been seen in the neighborhoods along Donegan Road in West Glenwood Springs was captured, fitted with a special collar and released Friday morning. The 80-pound bear was reportedly in a garage on Donegan Road west of Mel Ray Road looking for a mid-morning snack of garbage. The DOW was notified and arrived at 11 a.m., said DOW wildlife officer Sonia Marzec.DOW officers had set a trap for the bear on the Donegan property but nabbed her in the garage instead. After she was shot with a tranquilizer dart, she was fitted with a specially designed collar, which will allow her movements to be tracked every 15 minutes, thanks to a global positioning computer chip built into the collar.

The DOW began the five-year study last year, focusing on Aspen and Glenwood Springs, both of which are considered prime bear habitat. The aim of the study is to examine conflicts between bears and human, which are on the rise in the two mountain communities.After the bear was soundly drugged, DOW officers transported the small bear about halfway up Mitchell Creek. Slung in a piece of canvas, she was gently lifted out of the pickup bed and laid on the ground in the shade. The DOW officers would stay with her, for hours if need be, until she was awake and ready to be on her own. She will be tracked as long as she retains the collar, said DOW terrestrial biologist John Broderick.”She’s small for the size of the collar, and we had to put it on loose” because as a yearling she will grow into it, Broderick said. She will be tracked by Sharon Baruch-Mordo, a graduate student at Colorado State University, who is conducting the field research for the bear study.

Broderick hopes to get a few weeks worth of locational data from the collar, which he believes the bear will eventually shed.Although the bear was not charged with a first strike as a nuisance bear, Marzec worries she could become one, especially with her track record.If the bear gets into trouble and has two strikes against her, for eating garbage or worse, she could be destroyed, Marzec said.



“I’m a little bit worried. She’s gotten into trash already,” she added.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. 510dgray@postindependent.com


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