Bear suspected of attacking 5-year-old girl killed by wildlife officers

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MESA COUNTY, Colo. — A bear suspected of attacking a girl early Sunday morning on the Western Slope was killed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers overnight, officials said Monday morning.

The girl is expected to survive after the attack about 2:30 a.m. Sunday in the 3400 block of D Road in East Orchard Mesa, between Grand Junction and Palisade.

Wildlife officers placed three traps in the area overnight and monitored them.

When the bear was seen walking to a residence about a half-mile from the site of the attack, officers killed it before it entered the trap.

Based on a description of the bear and its behavior, officers feel confident the dead bear is the same on involved in the attack.

The bear’s carcass will be taken to Fort Collins for a full necropsy.

“The necropsy, along with DNA results will provide the confirmation, but we are confident we have the right bear,” area wildlife manager Kirk Oldham said.

“However, we will leave all three traps in place for the time being out of an abundance of caution.”

The girl’s mother saw the large black bear dragging the girl. The mother told wildlife officers her daughter went outside after hearing noises she thought could have been made by a dog.

The girl, who has not been identified, is being treated at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Grand Junction for nonlife-threatening injuries.

Hospital spokeswoman Teri Cavanagh said doctors expect the girl to “mend very well” after suffering apparent bite wounds.

Pediatric surgeon Charles Breaux Jr. said the bear bit the girl on her back side, but she didn’t have any injuries to her brain or organs or suffer any fractures.

The girl underwent a nearly two-hour surgery that required dozens of stitches.

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