Bear that bit boy at Utah campground is located and killed

(Photo courtesy of the state Division of Wildlife Resources) A photo of bear tracks found near a campground where a bear attacked a teenager on Aug. 9, 2019.

The black bear that bit a boy’s head in the Moab area has been found and euthanized, according to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

The 13-year-old was asleep at the Dewey Bridge Campground along the Colorado River about 5:45 a.m. on Friday when the bear stuck his head into the boy’s sleeping bag, and bit him on the left cheek and ear. The boy was not seriously injured; he was treated at a hospital in Grand Junction, Colo., and released.

DWR conservation officers and biologists located the bear on Friday at 6:30 p.m. within a mile of where the incident occurred. The animal matched the size, color and tracks of the bear that bit the boy, according to the DWR, and matched photos taken of a bear in the same area earlier in the week.

“We are so glad this young boy is doing OK, and we are confident we’ve located the bear that was involved in the incident,” said DWR mammals coordinator Darren DeBloois.

The bear was euthanized and tested for rabies; those results will not be available until later this week. The campground, closed during the search for the bear, reopened on Monday.

State policy calls for bears to be euthanized when they do not exhibit a fear of people. Since 2014, the DWR has responded to 255 bear incidents, but in most cases bears were trapped and relocated. Less than 20% resulted in a bear being euthanized, according to state officials.

“The majority of the time, we relocate black bears when there are nuisance situations where a black bear is getting into trash or food,” DeBloois said. “We primarily euthanize when it is a matter of public safety.”

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