DEL NORTE, Colo. -- A bear cub whose paws were severely burned in a Colorado wildfire earlier this summer is now nearly healed and on track to be released back into the wild.
The injured animal was found wandering alone in late June near the 416 Fire in southwestern Colorado. The bear, who was estimated to be four or five months old, was then captured and taken to a Colorado Parks and Wildlife facility for medical care.
Veterinarians applied burn ointment and wrapped the bear's feet in fresh bandages every 48 hours. On July 20, CPW announced that the bear no longer needed the cloth bandages, though the bear is still being treated with a spray-on bandage product.
"The burns have healed nicely and at this point. I'd say her paws are about 95 percent healed," Michael Sirochman, who has been treating the cub, said in a news release. "She still has a few nicks on her feet that we're keeping an eye on so we'll probably examine her a few more times during the next month."
Sirochman originally wasn't sure if the bear would survive her injuries.
The bear has gained 16 pounds under CPW's care, Sirochman said, adding that the animal has been moved out of isolation and is currently living in a pen with other orphaned bears.
"She's only been with the other bears for a couple of days, but she appears to be settling in with them," Sirochman added.
Over the past several weeks, caretakers have worked to minimize contact with the bear so that she could be more easily released back into the wild this winter.