Wildlife officials kill female bear in Singletree after it attacks homeowner
Two cubs are taken into possession after the seventh bear attack in the state this year
A female bear was euthanized Thursday in Singletree and its two cubs were taken into possession by wildlife officers after it attacked a man and left him with an upper forearm injury.
The unsuspecting homeowner was attacked when he walked outside to retrieve his dog in the morning, which he’d let out to go to the bathroom, according to Randy Hampton, the regional public information officer with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
After the sow charged the man and took a swipe at him, the man ran inside his home. The homeowner was treated for his injuries at a nearby urgent care and has yet to be identified.
The homeowner never saw the cubs with the sow, Hampton said. Deputies and wildlife officers only discovered the cubs after finding the sow in the tree. The sow was euthanized, per CPW policy, and the cubs were taken into possession for rehabilitation.
“He didn’t know he was between a bear or anything,” Hampton said. “He didn’t see the big bear until it was coming at him.”
Thursday’s attack marks the seventh incident this year in Colorado where a bear has attacked a human, according to CPW data. CPW has a two-strike policy for troublesome bears, tagging and relocating bears after their first strike, but any bear that attacks a human is put down.
“Once they’e gotten to a point that they’re aggressive with people, it’s too risky to do anything else,” Hampton said.
There were two bear attacks in Estes Park over the summer and the other four occurred in Larkspur in Douglas County, Aspen, South Fork, and Manitou Springs.
The number of bear sightings reported in Eagle County so far in 2020 is 302, according to CPW data — more than double what was reported last year. Some of the increased frequency of local bear calls, however, can be attributed to more residents being at home during the day as a result of COViD-19.
There have only been three fatal bear attacks recorded in Colorado since 1960. The first was in Grand County in 1971, the second in Fremont County in 1993 and the third in Ouray County in 2009.
What’s next for cubs
The two cubs that CPW officers took into possession will be taken to the Frisco Creek Wildlife Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in southwestern Colorado near Del Norte.
“They’ll be fattened up and then, probably midwinter, we actually den them,” Hampton said. “We basically tranquilize them, put them in a big box, and cover it with snow. When the snow melts, it’s just like they were naturally hibernating.”
The carcass of the mother bear will be sent to a forensics lab in Fort Collins for further evaluation “to see if the bear had rabies or anything like that,” Hampton said.
Wildlife officers have already been scrambling this week to help evacuate thousands of rifle hunters around the state in areas threatened by fast-moving wildfires.
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