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Orphaned bear cubs released back into the wild on Pikes Peak

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Two orphaned male bear cubs are back in the wild after they were found back in July when their mom was killed in a poaching incident in Woodland Park.

For the last six months, the cubs have been at Wet Mountain Wildlife Rehabilitation in Wetmore. Workers made sure the cubs had a chance at success before being released.

"They follow a very regimented program to make sure that these bears get the nutrition that they need to grow and be released back into the wild," said Travis Sauder with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Friday, the brothers were taken up Pikes Peak to an artificial den. CPW says it's not a new process.

"To try and mimic that natural hibernation that they go through and then hopefully when they wake up in the Spring they’ll just go back into out into the landscape and do normal bear stuff," said Sauder.

Before releasing the cubs, CPW attached GPS trackers to their ears.

"These ear tags will give us some really neat insight into where these bears go when they wake up, how long they stay in the den, and their long-term survivorship," said Sauder.

The trackers were made possible with a partnership between CPW and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. CMZoo members donated $14,500 for the trackers to help with the conservation project.

"Once they decide to leave the den for the season that’s where that information is missing and hopefully this will help fill in those gaps," said Rebecca Zwicker with the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

CPW shared a video of the moment the bear cubs were slid into the den, where the cubs will hopefully stay until spring.

Follow CPW's and workers with the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo full journey Friday by clicking here.

CPW is still asking the public for help finding the person who shot the sow in Woodland Park.

“Colorado Parks and Wildlife takes these situations very seriously,” said Cody Wigner, Area Wildlife Manager for the Pikes Peak region. “Someone made a decision to kill this animal, orphaning her two cubs. We need to find this person.”

A reward has been offered for information that leads to an arrest or citation. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Southeast Regional Office at 719-227-5200 or anonymously at 877-265-6648.


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Jessica Gruenling

Jessica is a reporter for Good Morning Colorado. Learn more about her here.



  1. What are the odds that these two meet the same fate as their mother? Would have been better to take them to the Western slope.

    1. Agree! With all the tourists and “hikers” on PP, food is easy and people think it’s cute to feed bears.

  2. I’m up in Teller and this is the third time I’ve heard of people shooting bears — and it’s not tourists, hikers, or people who are being threatened by them. People move here to live in the forest and then they try to prove how tough they are by shooting the animals that live here. Also, I understand that bears that are acclimated to humans and eating trash near cities wind up being moved here, so they already have bad habits. Looks from the story, though, as if they did the hard work of preparing the animals, setting up a good situation, and moving them to an area far from humans. Bears can travel, so they may wind up back in neighborhoods, but maybe it will be o.k. Looks like the CPW did everything right here.

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