By Kelly Werthmann
BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– Colorado Parks & Wildlife officials confirmed they trapped a black bear in Boulder County believed to be responsible for attacking a teenager.
The attack happened around 4:30 a.m. Sunday at the Glacier View Ranch near Ward. Almost 24 hours later, the 280-pound male black bear was captured in a CPW trap.
“We had three traps set up on the property,” Jennifer Churchill, spokesperson for Colorado Parks & Wildlife, told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “The bear was trapped about 24 hours later on the same exact property, so we’re pretty sure this is the right bear.”
Wildlife managers are also confident they captured the right bear because the victim, 19-year-old Dylan, looked at the bear after its capture.
“It was dark at the time [of the attack], so it’s hard to say when you have a chaotic situation like that, but he believes it was the bear,” Churchill said. “We’ve brought it up to our health lab in Fort Collins for a necropsy and it has been put down.”
Churchill explained the animal had to be euthanized because it posed a great threat to the public and the human attack was not normal black bear behavior.
“The reason we think this is such a dangerous situation and this was a dangerous bear is the unprovoked attack,” she said. “For an animal to come right up and bite on this gentleman and pull him 10-12 feet, that’s a very, very frightening situation.”
Dylan, who chose not to share his full name with the media, was sleeping outside with fellow Glacier View Ranch camp staff when the bear attacked him early Sunday morning.
“I woke up to a crunching sound and a lot of pain,” he told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia. “The bear had a hold of my head and was dragging me across the ground.”
The teen, who teaches wildlife survival skills at the Christian camp, put his knowledge into action to fight off the wild animal.
“I just started hitting the bear as hard as I could,” Dylan said. “I found its eye and started poking it with my fingers. He dragged me for about 10 feet before I was able to get it off of me.”
Experts at the Parks & Wildlife Health Lab in Fort Collins will perform a necropsy to confirm if the bear that was trapped and euthanized Monday is the bear that attacked Dylan.
Churchill said they’ll do scrapings under the bear’s claws and check its mouth, teeth and stomach contents for any evidence. The examination could also provide evidence to explain why the bear went after a sleeping human.
“People are now asking, ‘Shouldn’t [Dylan] have been in a tent?’” Churchill said. “A bear can swat through a tent just as easily as it can pull you out of a sleeping bag. It’s really behavior that is aberrant. This is not normal black bear behavior.”
Churchill said all traps that were set up on the property have been removed, but if the necropsy determines wildlife officials did not trap the right bear they will put the traps back.
“People need to understand we have to put public safety number one, so sometimes in situations like this we might remove more than one bear. That’s a possibility because we really need to protect public safety. We can’t have people camping and recreating in the foothills where bears are if we have bears that will attack humans.”
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now anchors CBS4 This Morning over the weekend and reports during the week. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.