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Bear believed to have attacked 5-year-old girl near Grand Junction killed, Colorado officials say

Posted at 10:10 AM, May 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-14 20:40:30-04

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers overnight killed the bear they suspect attacked a 5-year-old girl early Sunday morning near Grand Junction.

CPW says they saw the bear they believe to have been involved in the attack walking up to a home about a half-mile away from where the girl was attacked in east Orchard Mesa. The bear was killed before it entered one of three traps that had been set.

CPW officials said Monday the bear was about 125 pounds and was likely a 2-year-old bear. The bear was in “fairly appropriate condition” for this time of year, an official said amid questions over whether drought affected the bear’s food supply.

The agency said officers are “confident” the bear is the same one involved in the attack based on its behavior, but they will continue searching for other bears in the area. But officials also said that they were “not going to rest” until they were sure they had the correct bear.

The bear’s carcass will be transported to the CPW Wildlife Health Laboratory in Fort Collins for a necropsy.

"The necropsy, along with DNA results will provide the confirmation, but we are confident we have the right bear," said Area Wildlife Manager Kirk Oldham. "However, we will leave all three traps in place for the time being out of an abundance of caution."

The girl, 5-year-old Kimberly Cyr, had gone outside around 2:30 a.m. Sunday to investigate noises she thought were coming from her dog, her mother told CPW officials.

But the mother heard her daughter screaming and went outside to see a “large black bear” dragging her daughter. The bear dropped the girl when her mother screamed.

Cyr was taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center in Grand Junction, where she received around six-dozen stitches, her mother said. She was in fair condition as of Sunday afternoon.

Mike Porras, a CPW spokesperson, told The Associated Press the girl's mother's actions likely saved the girl's life. A pediatric surgeon said he expected the girl to fully recover.

At a Monday afternoon news conference, officials pleaded with Coloradans to be aware of bears and to report any suspicious activity. Officials said they would continue to work with the family and community, and expected to have a definite answer as to whether the bear shot was the one involved in the attack in coming days.