Those were not big cats plucked out of a tree Thursday afternoon by the Aspen fire department.
A mother bear and two cubs that took up residence this week in a tree on an Aspen pedestrian mall were evicted when Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials tranquilized the mother and then two cubs. The groggy mother slowly slid down the tree trunk and into a tarp held by law enforcement officials.
Once she was wrapped up and put in a cage, fire officials used a cherry-picker basket to get to the sedated cubs.
When the three were safely on the ground, the crowd of people who gathered behind the caution tape cheered the rescue.
The mama bear and her two cubs appeared healthy and will be driven “way west of here,” said Perry Will, area wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “They’ll be very close to the Utah border in very good habitat.”
The bears were in Aspen probably for the crab apples, Will said, because food in the mountains is scarce this year.
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“They’re not bad bears,” Will said. “They just found a spot that was bad.”
The cubs were likely born in February in the den, while the mother is probably 5 or 6 years old.
Aspen Police Chief Richard Pryor said he thinks it was the same mother and two cubs who were hanging around the courthouse last week.
Earlier Thursday, police said the situation “got pretty heated” Wednesday when the bears tried to leave the tree among a large group of onlookers.
The police department had yellow caution tape around much of the center of the Hyman Avenue mall Thursday and at about 2:30 p.m. decided to bring the bears out of the tree.
Wednesday night too many people…
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