Puzzled to find her girlfriend’s two dogs outside on Friday night, a Durango man went looking for her, Colorado officials said.
After an hour-long search, he found that a 39-year-old woman was killed by a bear while walking the dog, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials said in a press release.
“It was a very sad and very sad incident,” agency Jason Clay told KCNC. “It was a bear habitat and the bears were known to be there and expected to be there.”
Later, wildlife officials killed a female black bear and two cubs after following them with the dogs. Authorities said an autopsy or post-mortem will be performed and DNA tests will be performed to confirm the mother bear, estimated to be at least 10 years old, assaulted the woman.
“Every time there is an attack on humans, we have a policy to reduce those bears,” Clay told The Durango Herald. “Our number 1 job is to keep human health and safety in mind.”
Wildlife officials discovered the woman’s body was partially eaten and “bears and lots of fur” were found at the scene near Trimble, north of Durango, the agency reported.
“Bear attacks are extremely rare,” said Cory Chick, the agency’s Southwest manager, at the launch. He said bears in Colorado were born from hibernation.
Clay suggested that people make noise when in bear areas around, The Durango Herald reports.Bear sprays and air horns also help deter them.
If you spot a bear, talk to it quietly and wait for it to leave, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials advise against climbing a tree or running away from the bear. If you see the baby, assume that the mother is nearby and leave immediately. But fight back if being attacked by a bear Don’t play yourself
“These are wild animals,” Clay told the publication, “and bears are dangerous animals.”