Berry shortage in mountains pushes bears into Denver area as they struggle to find food

Officials say bear sightings are on the rise in the Denver area as the animals struggle to find food in preparation for their winter hibernation.

Jennifer Churchill, a spokeswoman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, says a combination of wet weather and sudden freezes in northeastern Colorado has stunted the growth of the berries the bears rely in the mountains.

As a result, the animals have been making their way to town for other nourishment as they try to bulk up for their winter hibernation.

A 2 1/2 -year-old bear was found Friday in a backyard tree in suburban Centennial. It was tranquilized and a crowd gathered to see wildlife officers load it in a carrier for a trip back to the mountains where they hope it will stay.

Authorities believe it was likely the same bear that prompted a reverse 911 warning to residents Wednesday.