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Bear cub hangs out in downtown Bayfield
8/31/2007 By: Linda Lovendahl
There was a parade of spectators in cars and on foot along Mill Street last Tuesday that lasted most of the afternoon.
The attraction was an adorable two -and -a -half -year old bear sitting in the tree adjacent to the east wall of the Mill Street Pharmacy located at the corner of Mill and Pearl streets.
One observer commented it was the most excitement she had ever seen on a lazy summer afternoon.
Brian Enos was the first to see the bear. He lives across the street just west of the thrift store. He had returned from work and placed cooked chicken on his porch table with the intention of eating it for lunch about 2:30 p.m., when he remembered something he had to get out of the garage.
He left the chicken to accomplish his chore. When he returned minutes later and sat down, he heard noises by the fence that separated his driveway from the empty lot next door. He looked up and was surprised to see the bear and yelled, “Hey!” The bear took off. It ran along the fence line toward the street.
“It didn’t take that bear but five or six seconds to get across the street and up the tree,” said Enos, who also described a near collision that transpired in the process.
A woman of unknown identity was approaching the entrance door to the pharmacy at the same time the bear was initially racing west on the sidewalk.
The two creatures eyed each other and immediately turned around and took off in the opposite direction!
Enos decided to high tail it to the Marshal’s office situated at the end of the block to alert someone about the bear. He ran past Classic Hair Crafters at 54 E. Mill St. when Christy Conrad, working inside, heard him shout “There’s a bear!”
She informed everyone in the store and they filtered out the door to see for themselves. Word traveled fast. Soon a crowd formed with people streaming out of the other storefronts onto the sidewalk.
The bear’s position on the lower limb provided a perfect vantage point for those who hadn’t seen a live bear before. The bear stuck his tongue out, turned around, hung by his arms, napped and generally demonstrated an overall patience with his audience.
Marshal Jim Harrington and Colorado Division of Wildlife Officer Cary Carron surveyed the situation before they left to investigate a bear cub sighting in Gem Village.
Mary O’Donnell, owner of the pharmacy, reported Carron told her before he left that it was a weaned bear around two-and-a-half-years old and probably wouldn’t climb down until all the commotion was over. He guessed that wouldn’t be until after nightfall.
However, the bear was sighted in a tree by Calvary Presbyterian Church later that afternoon.
Carron had no idea where the bear went from there but was confident it will survive the fall prior to hibernation in October.
“ We’ve had many reports of cubs that have been abandoned by their mothers,” he said. “These females haven’t been able to find food even for themselves. The yearling has already gotten himself through the summer so I think he has a good chance at survival. We couldn’t find the cub in Gem Village. Right now we’re relocating three cubs from Durango to the rehabilitation center in San Luis Valley and it’s a 50 percent survival rate for them at best.
“This is a bad year for cubs.”
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