Wildlife officials say the early morning attack was unprovoked
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Colorado Division of Wildlife officers killed a bear today (July 15) near Leadville after the animal injured a teenager in what is thought to be an unprovoked attack.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials said the attack happened at about 3:30 a.m. Friday morning when the teen woke up as a black bear bit into his leg.
The victim fought off the bear and other campers scared the bear out of the area. Hundreds of campers are in the Twin Lakes area for the Colorado Bowhunters Association annual Jamboree.
“We manage wild bears for a healthy and thriving population,” said Dan Prenzlow, regional manager for Wildlife with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “But when an individual bear enters a tent and attacks a sleeping person, we manage that animal to protect the public safety.”
Responding wildlife officers interviewed the victim at an area hospital where he was treated and released for deep lacerations on his leg and then released. Officers then inspected the campsite to determine what might have lead to the attack. The bear had apparently ransacked a cooler outside the tent in the adjacent area of the camp prior to the attack. However officers said there was nothing was found in the tent that would explain the bear’s actions.
Officers called for tracking assistance from the federal Wildlife Services agency, which responded with 10 tracking dogs . As temperatures cooled from the heat of the day, tracking dogs were able to establish a scent trail and discovered a 200-pound male black bear matching the description of the offending bear less than a mile from the attack site. The bear was put down shortly before 7 p.m.
The teenage victim is expected to recover but will receive follow up treatment for the injuries.
Campers are reminded that food items should be securely stored in bear-proof containers or kept in the locked trunk of a vehicle. Additional tips for camping in bear country can be found online at: http://wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/LivingWithWildlife/Mammals/HikeCampBearCountry.htm.
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