'Pizza Bear' released back into the wild

Posted at 11:48 AM, Jan 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-13 21:49:13-05

A bear found injured and starving inside a pizza restaurant in Colorado Springs has a new home - complete with two roommates.

The bear was named Louie after he was discovered in the kitchen of Louie's Pizza back in September.

A Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPAW) officer tranquilized Louie and carried him out of the restaurant so he could be moved to a wildlife rehabilitation facility.

A volunteer took Louie in and his recovery was even better than expected. CPAW officials thought the bear might get up to 115 pounds. He now weighs about 140 pounds!

During rehabilitation, Louie was housed with two bears who had been orphaned.

All three bears were deemed healthy enough to be released back into the wild, so over the weekend officials went into the wilderness about two hours from Colorado Springs and built a temporary den for them.

On Tuesday, CPAW tranquilized the bears, put them on sleds and moved them into the temporary den.

They sealed the den opening up with hay and snow, and believe the bears will stay inside and hibernate until spring.

If you're wondering why they weren't asleep already, it's because bears don't hibernate if there is a constant food supply.

However, CPAW officials say it is their natural instinct to hibernate and being in the den should get them to go to sleep.

Officials are not giving out any details about the location of the den because they don't want anyone to disrupt them.

While the three bears were "buddies" in rehab, officials think they will likely go their separate ways when they wake up in the spring.


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