DOW Agents Find Bear Devouring Elderly Woman

Woman Had Been Known To Feed Bears, Wildlife Officers Say

A bear was found Friday devouring the body of a 73-year-old woman who had been repeatedly asked not to feed the bears, the Division of Wildlife said.

A caretaker saw the bear feeding on the woman's body as she lay outside of her home, just north of Ouray. The caretaker called 911 and dispatchers reported the incident to the DOW.

While it's unclear if she was killed by the bear or died of other causes, there were wounds from an animal found on her body, DOW spokesman Joe Lewandowski said.

Lewandowski said the woman was known to feed bears dog food for years and would not stop, even after repeated requests from the DOW.

While sheriff's deputies were at the woman's home investigating the report of the mauling, an aggressive bear approached them so they killed it. The 250-pound male bear will be taken to the Colorado State Veterinary office, where a necropsy will be performed and its stomach contents will be examined and analyzed.

The victim's name is not being released until her family is notified.

The Montrose Memorial Hospital will conduct the autopsy on the woman and results should be released by noon Saturday, the DOW said.

"There have been a lot of bears that have been habituated to dog food. Once this happens you cannot relocate them," Lewandowski said. "Once bears are accustomed to the food, there is no getting them off it. The bears will keep coming back."

He said the DOW will have to kill bears that show up at the woman's house because they are accustomed to the food.

The DOW and the Ouray County Sheriff's Office are investigating the incident.

There have been only two fatal bear attacks in Colorado in the past 100 years. The first was in Grand County in 1971, when a man was killed. The second incident was Aug. 10, 1993 in Fremont County when a 24-year-old man was killed.

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