Click photo to enlarge

For the first time in Boulder this spring, wildlife officers today tranquilized and moved a bear from a tree in a south Boulder backyard after the homeowner discovered the animal hissing and drooling while she worked outside.

The roughly 4-year-old, 175-pound female black bear was tranquilized at about 12:40 p.m. while she rested in a tree at 3615 Moorhead Ave. She's being relocated to a better location, said Claire Solohub, district wildlife manager for the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

Solohub said wildlife officers believe the bear is the same animal they've been "baby-sittingâ for weeks in the Table Mesa area - the one they were trying to avoid tranquilizing by sitting below her while she stayed perched in trees.

"She's been around a lot,â Solohub said. "She's been taking up a fair bit of our time keeping her safe and us safe.â

When a bear is tranquilized in Colorado, it's fitted with an ear tag indicating the animal has been moved once. Colorado bears are on a "two-strikeâ policy, meaning if they're tranquilized and moved out of a residential setting twice, they'll be killed.

Solohub said, however, that if a tagged bear returns to town, officers work "really hardâ to haze it into open space and not tranquilize it.

"So I hope she's happy where we release her,â Solohub said.

Wildlife officers believe today's bear is the mother of a cub that was electrocuted and killed Sunday morning.

Solohub said the cub climbed up a power pole in south Boulder and possibly bit a wire.


The cub then fell on a residential fence below, and a neighbor called police to report the dead animal.

The "tight spotâ the mother bear found herself in today - in a neighborhood east of Broadway bordering U.S. 36 - prompted officials to dart her out of a tree.

"I don't know where she would go from here,â Solohub said.

A Boulder woman working in her backyard at about 10:45 a.m. today discovered the bear. Phrogge VanAusdall said she was surprised when she heard a hissing sound behind her.

"I thought it was a mountain lion,â VanAusdall said. "I looked up and the bear was hanging out of the branch, looking at me and hissing and drooling.

"I thought, 'Oh my gosh, I've got to go inside,'â she said.

Bear in a south Boulder tree

Archived comments

Wow a virgin bear.

An open letter to our new bear.

Welcome to the system you poor thing. Yes we do want you to leave the tree when you are done taking your nap, but as you come down the tree, make sure that you don't go near one of the 10 cameras. Close your eyes and squint so the light bulb flashes don't scare you. Exit up between the tiny little path they give you to run. Don't forget to smile, bad pictures can stay with you for a long time. And that jewelry? Its OK, its only a radio ID tag. Its to make you fit in... well, ok, really you are now a science project. Anyhow, don't steal any babies. See you soon!


6/24/2008 12:15:23 PM

First off...Not A Virgin....

"Wildlife officials said the bear's cub was killed on Sunday when it climbed a power pole and bit into an electrical wire."



6/24/2008 12:30:48 PM

The esteemed Ms. Van Ausdall was Ms. America (bodybuilding) 1984 and 85.

That bear knew better than to mess with HER!

6/24/2008 12:50:53 PM

Everybody is on a two-strike policy in Boulder. Bears are killed while the humans are subjected to the caustic ticketing and court system.


6/24/2008 4:03:37 PM

How I wish there was some way to warn the bears concerning the two strikes you are dead policy. The sad thing is that the bears don't even have to be caught being aggressive or doing anything wrong. Just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time or having "tattle tales" getting them in trouble instead of just leaving them alone so that they can leave on their own.


6/24/2008 5:35:21 PM

They should encourage more off leash dogs walkers in the foothills instead of creating a passage to welcome the bears into town. The markings of the dogs would be a warming to the wildlife to stay out of town.

Dogs have been guarding villages form time immemoriable.

6/24/2008 6:32:45 PM

If only Bears ate prairie rats this could be a win-win situation.

Plug up the burrows to prevent escape and relocate 'Smokey' to Open Space. (I kid. NO bear named SMOKEY would be allowed to live anywhere in Boulder. There's a NO strike policy with that.)


6/24/2008 7:15:04 PM


You are on the rice.


6/24/2008 9:08:22 PM

Dear trappist99,

In this case, I'm afraid the dogs were sleeping. I live at the house where the poor little bear died. She and mama were not bothered by the signs of dogs, or humans.

There is a well-established, well-marked walking trail behind my house, many people and off-lease dogs constantly on the the trail. The little cub still managed to meet her untimely end with no fear or warning from the dogs.


6/25/2008 8:35:52 AM

The DOW tells us each year to NOT let your dogs off leash and roam as their scent brings the bears down. We have a nifty little meeting at our local rural firehouse, with gruesome pictures of bear/dog confrontations. Don't think a dog is a deterrent - it's an attractant.


6/25/2008 2:14:09 PM

Kathryn do you want a toddler dead and mangled before these bears are dealt with. We have effectively stopped hunting them so some control has to be used.


6/25/2008 2:40:07 PM

Posted by Pogue009 on June 25, 2008 at 2:40 p.m.

Kathryn do you want a toddler dead and mangled before these bears are dealt with. We have effectively stopped hunting them so some control has to be used.

Pogue, you are way off. This is their habitat. If you do not want the risk, then move to the plains or to Stapleton.


6/27/2008 10:01:48 AM