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Bear believed to have attacked woman in Manitou Springs caught

MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. – Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers, working with federal wildlife experts, caught and humanely euthanized a sow bear early Saturday near Manitou Springs.

The sow matched the description of a bear that attacked a woman near downtown on Thursday night. It was caught not far from the scene of the attack. Its remains were sent to a health lab for a necropsy and testing.

The team of CPW officers and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) agents also captured the sow’s cubs and sent them to a rehabilitation facility where they will be raised and taught to avoid human contact. They will be released into the wild next winter.

APHIS agents commonly help CPW manage conflicts caused by wildlife for the protection of public health and safety.

“We believe this is the sow that aggressively attacked one woman in Manitou Springs and then chased another on Thursday night,” said Cody Wigner, Assistant Area Wildlife Manager for the Colorado Springs region. “Our wildlife officers, working with the APHIS team, set traps and staked out the area of the attack on Friday night.

“Early Saturday morning, the APHIS team, using trained hounds, treed a sow matching the description of the target bear and in the same area as the attack. It was humanely euthanized. Then the two cubs were captured. We are very confident we caught the target sow so we removed traps set up in the neighborhood and pulled our officers out.”

CPW launched an intensive search for the sow after receiving a report Friday morning of the attack from Manitou Springs Police and interviewing the victim.

The victim told CPW wildlife officers she was walking home from work around 11:40 p.m. Thursday when she encountered an adult bear on the street. The bear charged her. As the victim turned to try to escape, the bear knocked her down from behind, scratching her back and ripping her shirt.

Minutes later, a colleague of the victim walked down the same street and was chased by a bear. She avoided contact with the bear by running around a parked vehicle.

A nearby witness reported seeing two cubs with the large adult bear. All three bears ultimately wandered off and the victim walked to her nearby home.

CPW took the cubs to the nonprofit Wet Mountain Wildlife Rehabilitation facility in Wetmore.

In the wake of the attack, neighbors told CPW the sow and cubs often rummaged trash cans in the area and acted aggressively toward people.

“This is why we say ‘garbage kills bears’ and urge everyone to secure their trash cans,” Wigner said. “This is bear country. We need to keep them wild and not let them become trash bears.”