DURANGO, Colo. – Colorado Division of Wildlife officers shot and killed a bear early Saturday morning that bit a man near the Animas River in Durango.
The victim reported he was sleeping outside when he was bitten by a bear through his blanket at about 2:30 a.m. He received a minor wound during the attack and was able to escape the bear by entering into a nearby building.
Officers from the DOW and the U.S. Department of Agriculture responded immediately with tracking dogs, which led officers directly to a male bear approximately three blocks from where the incident took place. DOW officers shot and killed the animal. The bear carcass was identified by several people who witnessed the incident as the bear that bit the man.
“A bear that bites a person – or loses its fear of people may be a serious threat to public safety,” said Patt Dorsey, area wildlife manager for the DOW in Durango. “In the interest of public safety, we chose to remove this animal as quickly as possible.”
The carcass of the bear that was killed by DOW officers underwent a necropsy at Colorado State University. The stomach contents of the bear demonstrated that the bear was using human-provided food sources. This is almost always the case with bears involved in human conflicts. A package of hamburger and an ice cream-container were found in the bear’s stomach.
There are several transient camps in the area of Durango where the attack occurred. These camps can attract bears due to easy access to trash and food.
The DOW reminds Colorado residents that bears easily habituate to human sources of food and that habituated bears may become aggressive. People living in or visiting bear country are urged to eliminate access to all food sources, to take appropriate measures to secure doors and windows in their homes and to report encounters with aggressive bears.
Most bears sighted in residential areas within bear habitat do not cause damage. If a bear does not find food, it usually moves on.
For more information on bear proofing your home and techniques for deterring bears in your neighborhood, visit www.wildlife.state.co.us/bears.