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Woman bitten by bear while camping

Staff Writer

An unidentified woman was attacked by a bear while camping on private property south of Pagosa Springs Saturday morning.

Subsequent to the attack, the bear was tracked by federal wildlife officials and destroyed.

According to Joe Lewandowski, spokesman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, a woman was camping in her tent on private property when, at about 6 a.m., a bear approached her tent and bit her on the arm through the tent.

The woman fought the bear off and scared it away, Lewandowski reported.

The severity of any injuries sustained was not available by presstime Wednesday.

After responding, federal agency wildlife services were able to track and locate the bear nearby and destroy it, Lewandowski said.

“Anytime a bear exhibits that sort of aggressive behavior, we have to put that bear down. That bear doesn’t get a second chance,” Lewandowski explained.

Lewandowski said it was hard to tell what may have drawn the bear to the tent, with no obvious attractants found.

No further information regarding the incident was available by presstime.

But, regardless of the specifics of the attack, Lewandowski urged campers to remember to never eat in tents or keep scented toiletries in tents.

“Bears have a very acute sense of smell,” Lewandowski reminded, adding that encounters with bears are rare and camping is safe if proper precautions are taken.

“We do live in bear country,” he added.

As bear season begins, CPW also offers the following bear-aware tips:

• Keep garbage in a well-secured location, and only put out garbage on the morning of pickup.

• Clean garbage cans regularly to keep them free of odors.

• If you don’t have secure storage, put items that might become smelly into the freezer until trash day.

• Don’t leave pet food outside.

• Bird feeders should be brought in — birds don’t need to be fed during the summer.

• If you have bird feeders: clean up beneath them daily, bring them in at night, and hang them high so that they’re completely inaccessible to bears.

• Secure compost piles. Bears are attracted to the scent of rotting food — and they’ll eat anything.

• Allow grills to burn for a couple of minutes after cooking to burn off grease and to eliminate odors. Clean the grill after each use.

• Clean up thoroughly after picnics in the yard or on the deck. Don’t allow food odors to linger.

• If you have fruit trees, pick fruit before it gets too ripe. Don’t allow fruit to rot on the ground.

• Keep garage doors closed.

• Keep the bottom floor windows of your house closed when you’re not at home.

• If you see a bear in your neighborhood, make it feel unwelcome by making noise or throwing things at it, but stay at a safe distance and never approach the animal.

• Do not keep food in your car; lock car doors.

If camping, lock food and toiletries in your car at night, or in a bear-proof container.

• Talk to your neighbors and kids about being bear aware.

For more information on living with bears, go to the Living with Wildlife section on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website: http://wildlife.state.co.us/wildlifespecies/livingwithwildlife/pages/livingwith.aspx.

randi@pagosasun.com

This story was posted on May 15, 2014.