Curious Colorado: When Was The Last Grizzly Bear Seen In Colorado?

Sep 23, 2019

We know Colorado has mountain lions, coyotes, rattlesnakes, tarantulas and black bears... but what about grizzly bears? 

A listener submitted the question to our Curious Colorado project asking about just that. "When was the last grizzly bear seen in the state?"

KUNC's Colorado Edition called Rebecca Ferrell from Colorado Parks and Wildlife to learn more. 

Interview Highlights

When was the last time a grizzly bear was seen in the state? 

Grizzly bears are brown bears, and so we do not consider or believe that there are any real brown bears living in the state. We actually declared the grizzly to likely be extirpated, which means no longer living in the state, in the early 1950s.

But in 1979 there was actually an incident where an elk hunter was out on the trails out in the woods looking for his elk, and he was attacked by what was later proven to be a grizzly bear. So the last known grizzly bear in Colorado was 1979, and his remains are actually at the History Colorado museum. 

This conversation is part of KUNC's Colorado Edition for Sept. 17. Listen to the full episode here.

And do you have a question about Colorado? KUNC wants to help answer it. Click here to submit a question to Curious Colorado.

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