Bear believed to have attacked boy at eastern Utah campground located, euthanized

This 2007 file photo shows a juvenile black bear unrelated to the bear attack in Utah. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Tom Bergman

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Aug. 13, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah Division of Wildlife Resource officials have announced the black bear believed to have attacked a boy in eastern Utah last Friday was located later the same day.

The bear has been euthanized, in keeping with the protocol for bears that attack humans, the DWR statement says.

“The incident occurred at the Dewey Bridge Campground along the Colorado River about 5:45 a.m.” on Aug. 9, the statement says. “The 13-year-old victim was camping with a group and was sleeping on the ground near a riverside pavilion when the bear bit him.

“The teen received injuries to his left cheek and left ear. He was taken to the hospital and was treated and released. He is expected to make a full recovery.”

The boy was a Colorado resident, a previous statement says.

The DWR statement says the bear was found later on the day of the attack.

“The bear was found DWR conservation officers and biologists responded to the area and located the bear on Friday at 6:30 p.m. The bear was found within a mile of where the incident occurred and matched the size, color and tracks of the bear involved in the incident. The bear also matched photos taken of a bear in the same area earlier in the week.

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“The bear was euthanized and, on Monday, underwent a necropsy, an autopsy for animals, to do testing, including rabies testing. The results will not be available until later in the week.”

Bears are euthanized when they do not exhibit a fear of people, per state policy. However, the number of bears euthanized each year is quite small, the Division of Wildlife Resources statement says.

Since 2014, there have been a reported 255 bear incidents that required action from DWR and, of those, less than 20% resulted in euthanization.

“The majority of the time, we relocate black bears when there are nuisance situations where a black bear is getting into trash or food,” DWR mammals coordinator Darren DeBloois.

“We primarily euthanize when it is a matter of public safety. We are so glad this young boy is doing OK, and we are confident we’ve located the bear that was involved in the incident. We got into the wildlife profession because we love wildlife, and we enjoy managing and protecting animals so Utahns can get outdoors and enjoy them.”

To see wildlife safety guidelines when in bear country, click here.

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