Wildlife officials kill problem bear near Aspen
August 22, 2011
ASPEN – Wildlife officials said Sunday they believe they have killed the black bear responsible for two separate attacks on backcountry campers in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area near Aspen.
Pat Thrasher of the White River National Forest said members of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and Wildlife Services, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, found the bear early in the morning Sunday and euthanized it.
“The bear matched the descriptions provided by the victims,” Thrasher said. “Its appearance was very emaciated and it had been observed in that area previously.”
State and federal officials spent much of Saturday trying to track down the bear or bears that attacked two Crater Lake-area backcountry campers in their tents in separate incidents within 24 hours.
In the first incident around dawn on Friday, a bear jumped on a tent housing two men near Crater Lake, at the base of the Maroon Bells. One of the men was bitten on his left side and received small puncture wounds but was not seriously hurt, officials said. The campers shouted and scared the bear away.
In a second, more serious attack around 1 a.m. Saturday at the Minnehaha Gulch campsite above Crater Lake, a bear stomped a tent with a 51-year-old Front Range man inside. The bear bit through a sleeping bag and into the man’s leg, causing substantial injuries, officials said.
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Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Mike Porras said the man’s injuries were serious but not life-threatening.