The 39-year-old woman took her dogs for a walk on Friday night in Trimble, Colorado, which is near Durango. Her boyfriend returned home to the two dogs but she was not there. He searched for about an hour and found her body.
When Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) officers responded, they found signs of consumption on the body and an abundance of bear scat and hair at the scene.
Crews and a dog search team found the female black bear and two cubs nearby. The bears were euthanized and taken to CPW’s Wildlife Health Lab in Fort Collins for a necropsy.
“Whenever an animal is euthanized, we receive many questions about why that action was necessary,” said CPW Director Dan Prenzlow. “Our responsibilities to the natural resources of the state are many, but we have no more important duty than to manage these resources in a manner that keeps Coloradans and our visitors safe. Euthanizing wildlife is never an action our officers take lightly, but we have an obligation to prevent additional avoidable harm.”
“Once a bear injures or consumes humans, we will not risk the chance that this could happen to someone else,” Chick said. “We humanely euthanize that bear because of the severity of the incident.
“Bears will return to a food source over and over. A bear that loses its fear of humans is a dangerous animal,” Chick said. “And this sow was teaching its yearlings that humans were a source of food, not something to fear and avoid.”
CPW’s pathologist said the bears did not have any signs of disease or other abnormalities, but further testing will take up to two weeks to complete.
An autopsy on the woman is expected to be conducted Tuesday at the La Plata County coroner’s office. The coroner will determine the official cause of death and identify the remains.