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Bear euthanized after biting teen camping near Moab

Posted at 10:48 AM, Aug 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-13 12:49:12-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A bear was euthanized Friday after wildlife officials said it attacked a sleeping teenager who was camping in the Moab area.

The 13-year-old boy suffered injuries to his ear and cheek after the bear bit him. The boy was camping with a group and sleeping near the riverside pavilion at Dewey Bridge Campground along the Colorado River.

The attack occurred early Friday morning.

Conservation officers and biologists with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources responded to the area and located the bear Friday night about a mile from where the incident occurred.

The bear matched the description from the incident as well as pictures taken in the same area earlier in the week.

The bear was euthanized, which is standard procedure for the DWR when a bear doesn’t exhibit any fear of humans.

The bear underwent necropsy on Monday, which includes rabies testing. Those results should be available later in the week, the DWR states.

“The majority of the time, we relocate black bears when there are nuisance situations where a black bear is getting into trash or food,” said DWR mammals coordinator Darren DeBloois. “We primarily euthanize when it is a matter of public safety. 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. We got into the wildlife profession because we love wildlife, and we enjoy managing and protecting animals so Utahns can get outdoors and enjoy them.”

The campground was closed Friday as authorities searched for the bear but was reopened Monday.

Wild Aware Utah provides tips for avoiding animal encounters and advice for what to do in the case of an attack.Click here for their page on bears and see below for their tips on reacting to a bear encounter:

If You Encounter A Bear

  •  Stand your ground. Never back up, lie down or play dead. Stay calm and give the bear a chance to leave. Prepare to use your bear spray or another deterrent.
  • Don’t run away or climb a tree. Black bears are excellent climbers and can run up to 35 miles per hour—you cannot outclimb or outrun them.
  • Know bear behavior. If a bear stands up, grunts, woofs, moans or makes other sounds, it’s not being aggressive. These are ways a bear gets a better look or smell and expresses its interest.

If A Bear Attacks

  •  Use bear spray. Then leave the area. Studies have shown bear spray to be 92 percent successful in deterring bear attacks.
  • Shoot to kill. If you use a firearm, never fire a warning shot-aim for the center of the bear and keep firing until it is dead. Notify the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources immediately.
  • Always fight back. And never give up! People have successfully defended themselves with almost anything: rocks, sticks, backpacks, water bottles and even their hands and feet.