Young bear captured in Rifle by CPW | PostIndependent.com

Young bear captured in Rifle by CPW

Levi Atwater, Colorado Parks and Wildlife district wildlife manager, tags a young bear captured in Rifle Friday, Sept. 25.
Courtesy of Brenda Rhoades Maes |

For the first time in 2015, Colorado Parks and Wildlife captured a bear in Rifle Friday.

The 21-month-old bear was tranquilized on Second Street near Whiteriver Avenue around 5 p.m. There have been several reports of bears in Rifle in the past month, but this young one was the first actually captured by CPW, said Levi Atwater, the CPW district wildlife manager who captured the bear.

Although the animal is in the early stages of its life, residents likely do not have to worry about running into momma bear. At 21 months old, the yearling is in its second summer.

Young bears usually follow their mother the first year of life, Atwater explained. In some instances, young bears will follow their mother to the den after their first summer, but that is rare.

In those cases the bear might remain with its mother into the spring, but for the two to remain together into the fall of the yearling’s second year is extremely rare.

“Rarely do you see a sow in the fall still being followed by her yearling,” Atwater said.

This was the first bear captured in Rifle in 2015.

“We’ve had a few reports over the last month or so but they’ve been very sporadic,” Atwater said.

Unlike cities and towns upvalley, such as Glenwood Springs and Carbondale, Rifle typically sees fewer bears because it is farther from natural bear habitat. Consequently, once a bear makes it into Rifle city limits, it typically requires CPW to remove it as long as it has sources of food, Atwater said.

Despite that fact, bears will travel to wherever food is — especially during this time of year when bears are loading up for winter hibernation. The yard in which the bear was captured had a pear tree and pears were all over the yard, Atwater said.

So far, though, copious amounts of wild food sources fed by strong rains in the spring have led to less bear activity in general — an expectation expressed late in the summer.

While Rifle typically sees fewer bears, efforts such as not leaving trash out can go a long way, Atwater said.

“If there’s no food for them they have to keep moving,” he said.


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