ASPEN, Colo. (CBS4) – Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials have trapped and killed the bear involved in an attack on a restaurant manager in Aspen Sunday. Officers located the bear within town limits on Monday.
A DNA test revealed the bear was the same one that bit the restaurant manager after he tried to haze the bear out of the restaurant’s dumpster. CPW officials say the bear was about 400 lbs. and tested negative for rabies.
“We had numerous officers and assistance from Aspen PD as we searched for the bear all day on Monday,” said Area Wildlife Manager Matt Yamashita.”We encountered two other bears in town that did not match the description. Those bears were hazed but not captured.”
Officers tracked the bear to a second-story balcony of a business that was one block from where the attack happened.
“At that location, we were able to dart it, then we moved it to our office where it was euthanized,” said Yamashita.
CPW officials say measurements of the bear’s teeth while it was immobilized matched those of the bite wounds sustained by the victim. In addition, the proximity of the bear to the location of the incident contributed to the officers’ confidence that the right bear was located.
Yamashita says because the bear was so large, had attacked a person and continued to roam in town limits, it was clearly a serious threat to people.
“A bear this size and unafraid of humans could have easily killed a person with little effort,” said Yamashita. “It’s unfortunate this bear had to die for this reason, especially when you consider it was totally preventable. Based on our experience, there was no chance this bear could be rehabilitated after it bit a person.”
There have been three bear attacks on humans this summer in Colorado and CPW officials report five to 20 911 calls reporting bear encounters each day since mid-June. Each day, officials say two or three of the calls are about bears attempting to break into homes.
On May 27, a 230 lb. bear bit a woman as she hiked on the Hunter Creek Trail. CPW officers killed the bear several days later. A necropsy revealed the bear’s stomach was full of birdseed obtained from backyard bird feeders.
On July 27, an estimated 500 lb. bear swiped at a man at the Aspen Meadows Resort resulting in torn clothing and a scratched arm. Several witnesses reported that the bear had previously approached several people, exhibiting no fear. CPW officers are still looking for that bear.
CPW warns the high level of bear activity will continue as bears prepare for winter hibernation.
“For some bears, natural foods may not be enough so they will come into human-populated areas in search of an easy meal,” said Yamashita. “If bears have easy access to food, they will keep coming back, and that puts people at significant risk.