- Florida wildlife commission says it caught 200-pound female bear in vicinity of attack
- Because it was captured in the vicinity of the attack within 48 hours, it was euthanized
- Susan Chaifant, 54, was hospitalized for her injuries after Monday's attack
A bear believed to be involved in this week's attack on a 54-year-old Florida woman has been caught and euthanized, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman said Thursday.
The trapped bear closely fits the description of the animal involved in the attack, according to a statement from the commission.
The 200-pound female bear was caught by commission biologists in the Longwood neighborhood where Susan Chalfant was mauled Monday night.
Because the bear was caught within 48 hours in the vicinity of the attack, the decision was made to euthanize her.
A female yearling bear was trapped Tuesday night, but it did not fit the description of the bear involved in the incident.
Chalfant, who was walking her dogs at the time of the attack, was hospitalized for her injuries. As of Tuesday, the hospital declined to provide updates on Chalfant's condition.
The woman's face was severely injured, according to a neighbor who told a 911 dispatcher she was "so bloodied" that the neighbor couldn't determine her age.
Neighbors in Longwood, north of Orlando, say bears often roam through the area, especially when looking for food thrown out by humans.
"There's an actual walkway of the bears between my home and the immediate neighbor," said one resident, who identified himself only as Richard. "We see them on a regular basis, especially the nights before garbage pickups."
Wildlife officials say that if homeowners aren't careful with their trash, the bears will keep showing up.
"Unless we get the full cooperation with everybody in every neighborhood around here, the bears are going to come in for a free lunch," Florida Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Karen Parker said.
Unprovoked black bear attacks in Florida are extremely rare. The first one documented by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was last year.
The problem, biologists say, is that people are now living in areas that bears once called home. And bears like to roam.