Following the attack of a sleeping camper on July 9, officials with Colorado Parks and Wildlife set out to locate the bear. Five days later, the agency announced they had euthanized a bear they believed to have attacked the 19-year-old camper with forensic evidence to back it up.
As the young man was sleeping beside a campfire, he was awakened by a bear chomping down on his head. As the bear dragged the young man, he began to fight back, eventually causing the attacking bear to retreat.
After killing the bear in question, officials performed a full necropsy of the 4+-year-old black bear that weighed 280 pounds. The evidence collected from the necropsy was then sent to a forensic lab in Wyoming which confirmed the presence of human DNA on the claws of the animal.
“We believe this is the bear that attacked the young man,” said Mark Leslie, northeast regional manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “We know we have a lot of bears and a lot of people living and recreating in the Front Range foothills and mountains. This means bears will come into contact with more human-provided food sources and there is more potential for conflict. We encourage all residents and visitors to do their part to discourage bear habituation.”
This year has been wrought with a number of bear-human conflicts in Colorado and officials are urging residents to take the proper precautions to help mitigate bear encounters.