COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Several trails at Red Canyon Open Space in Colorado Springs have been temporarily closed as Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials track down an aggressive bear in the area.
The temporary closures come after a man hiking with his two dogs told CPW officials he was confronted by a bear that showed no fear of humans near the Section 16 Trailhead Thursday afternoon.
The hiker told CPW he and his two dogs were just 100 yards up the trail at the start of his midday hike when the confrontation occurred.
CPW officials were told by the hiker that one of his dogs, a Labrador, alerted at something in the thick scrub oak brush that surrounds the trail and it bolted, pulling its leash out the hiker’s grasp in order to investigate.
Moments later, the hiker told CPW officials, he and his other dog, a Puggle mix breed, were confronted by a cinnamon-colored bear he estimated to weigh 150 pounds.
In a news release, CPW said the hiker told them the bear showed no fear of him or his dogs, and instead chased the smaller dog.
The hiker said he kicked the bear in the head to stop it from attacking his pet, but lost his footing in the melee and fell in gravel, suffering minor scratches on his legs, CPW officials said.
To stop his dogs from getting killed, the hiker told CPW he once again kicked the bear in the head and also threw rocks at the bear, who turned around and walked down the trailed before disappearing into the thick oak brush.
The bear never bit or clawed the hiker or his dogs, CPW officials said.
After giving his account to CPW, officials called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), who along with CPW, will help track down the aggressive bear. At the recommendation of CPW officials, the Colorado Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department is also temporarily closing all nearby trails for the safety of hikers.
The temporary closures apply to the Section 16 Trailhead, Palmer Loop Trail, and the southern end of Red Rock Canyon.
“If it is found, the bear will be euthanized because it poses an imminent threat to human health and safety,” a CWP official said in the news release.
The public is asked to avoid the area until the search ends.