Bear suspected of attacking 5-year-old Colorado girl killed | SummitDaily.com

Bear suspected of attacking 5-year-old Colorado girl killed

Summit Daily staff report news@summitdaily.com

A black bear is shown leaving the entrance of a cave in the Tongass National Forest, Alaska.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers have killed a black bear that's believed to have attacked a young girl early Sunday morning in East Orchard Mesa, near Grand Junction.

CPW officers will transport the bear's carcass to the agency's Wildlife Health Laboratory in Fort Collins for a full necropsy, according to the agency.

Wildlife officers reportedly set three traps in the area overnight and were monitoring them when they saw a bear walking up to a home about a half-mile away from where the attack occurred.

According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, officers killed the bear before it entered the trap.

Based on the description of the bear and its behavior, wildlife officers say they feel confident the bear they've killed is the same one that attacked the girl.

"The necropsy, along with DNA results will provide the confirmation, but we are confident we have the right bear," said area wildlife manager Kirk Oldham in a prepared statement. "However, we will leave all three traps in place for the time being out of an abundance of caution."

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The results of the necropsy will be released when they become available. In addition to the traps, CPW officers and USDA Wildlife Services personnel will continue searching the area for any additional bears.

The 5-year-old girl is reportedly recovering at St. Mary's hospital after receiving more than 70 stitches. Her condition has been upgraded to fair and her recovery is expected to take several weeks.

The girl's mother reportedly told wildlife officers she heard screaming at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning. When she went outside, she saw a large black bear dragging her 5-year-old daughter.

The bear dropped the girl when the mother began screaming at the animal, she told officers. According to the woman, the girl may have gone outside after hearing noises in the yard she might have thought were coming from her dog.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife advises the public to avoid attracting bears — and other wildlife — to people's homes by removing things like trash, bird feeders and other potential sources of food.

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