CPW officers kill bear suspected of injuring girl in Sunday morning attack | CraigDailyPress.com

CPW officers kill bear suspected of injuring girl in Sunday morning attack

Craig Press staff report

GRAND JUNCTION — Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers have killed a bear believed to have been responsible for injuring a young girl in an attack early Sunday morning in East Orchard Mesa.

The 5-year-old girl, who was mauled, survived the attack and is in good condition, thanks to the actions of her mother, state officials said.

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

Wildlife officers placed three traps in the area overnight, actively monitoring them and continuing the investigation, when they observed the bear walking up to a residence approximately a half-mile away from the location of the attack. Officers killed the bear before it entered the trap.

Based on the description of the bear and its behavior, wildlife officers are confident the dead bear is the same animal involved in the attack on 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. “However, we will leave all three traps in place for the time being out of an abundance of caution.”

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CPW will release the results of the necropsy when they become available.

In addition to the traps, CPW officers and USDA Wildlife Services personnel will continue searching the area for additional bears.

The child — whose name hasn’t been released by authorities — apparently went outside her house at 3417 D Road about 2:30 a.m. on Mother’s Day, possibly to check out noises she might have thought were her dog, according to information her mother gave CDW officials.

The victim’s mother told CPW officers she heard screaming. When she went outside to investigate, she saw a large black bear dragging her 5-year-old daughter. She told CPW officers the bear dropped the girl after she began screaming at the animal.

The child was hospitalized in serious condition at 3:38 a.m., according to Charles Breaux Jr., a St. Mary’s Medical Center pediatric surgeon who spoke to reporters on the family’s behalf late Sunday afternoon. Breaux said the child was lucky her injuries weren’t more severe.

“Fortunately, she had no life-threatening injuries, no injuries to her brain or chest organs or abdominal organs, and no fractures,” he said.

CPW advises the public to avoid attracting bears — and any other wildlife — to their residences by removing attractants. Residents are asked to secure trash, keep pet food inside and immediately report any bear sightings in this or any residential area.