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Wildlife officials kill bear that bit teen

By the CNN Wire Staff
A Colorado parks official estimated that about 12,000 black bears live on the state's 23 million acres of public land.
A Colorado parks official estimated that about 12,000 black bears live on the state's 23 million acres of public land.
  • Black bear enters a tent and bites a teenage boy in the leg
  • The boy fights off the bear, a Colorado parks spokesman says
  • Wildlife officials kill the bear due to its apparent aggressiveness
  • Tracking dogs are used to help find the bear

(CNN) -- Wildlife officials in Colorado say they have killed a bear believed to have been involved in an attack on a teenage boy Friday morning.

Park officials used 10 tracking dogs to hunt for the brazen black bear, which wandered into a heavily-populated campsite overnight.

They established a scent trail by late afternoon, said spokesman Randy Hampton of Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

At the end of the trail, they discovered a 200-pound bear that matched the description of the one involved in the early morning attack. It was shot and killed.

Officials had said earlier they would have to kill the bear, pointing to the bold and aggressive behavior it exhibited when it wandered into the site with so many campers.

The incident occurred in an encampment filled with hundreds of people participating in a bow-hunting event, Hampton said.

"We manage wild bears for a healthy and thriving population," said Dan Prenzlow, regional manager for wildlife with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

"But when an individual bear enters a tent and attacks a sleeping person, we manage that animal to protect the public safety."

The bear entered a tent occupied by a teenage boy and at least one other person early Friday. It bit the boy on the leg, but the teen fought it off. The bear was then chased away by the teen and other campers at the site.

Wildlife officials who responded to the scene determined that the black bear had been poking around the campsite before it attacked the teenage boy. Investigators said they found a ransacked cooler and evidence that food had been eaten before the bear entered the tent.

The teenager was taken to a hospital in nearby Leadville, Colorado, Hampton said. He was treated for deep lacerations on one of his legs and released. He is expected to recover but will receive followup treatment.

Hampton estimated that there are around 12,000 black bears on Colorado's 23 million acres of public land. There are no known brown bears or grizzlies in the state.

Earlier this month, a man was killed in a grizzly bear attack in Wyoming's Yellowstone Park. But park officials said the man, who was hiking with his wife, surprised the female grizzly while she was with her cubs. They determined that she was acting defensively and decided not to put the bear down.

CNN's Nigel Walwyn contributed to this report.