Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials have trapped and killed the bear involved in last Sunday’s attack on a restaurant manager in Aspen.
Officers located the bear within town limits on Monday, the day after the attack. DNA test results received late Thursday confirmed it was the same bear that bit the restaurant manager after he tried to haze the bear out of the restaurant’s dumpster. A necropsy revealed the male bear weighed approximately 400 lb, was healthy and tested negative for rabies.
“We had numerous officers and assistance from Aspen PD as we searched for the bear all day on Monday,” said Area Wildlife Manager Matt Yamashita.”We encountered two other bears in town that did not match the description. Those bears were hazed but not captured.”
Officers then received a report of a large bear matching the description of the offending bear wandering in the same area of Sunday’s attack.
“We tracked it to a second-story balcony of a business one block from where the attack occurred,” said Yamashita. “At that location, we were able to dart it, then we moved it to our office where it was euthanized.”
Officers made the field determination that they had found the target bear based on descriptions provided by the victim and bystanders the evening of the attack. Measurements of the bear’s teeth while it was immobilized matched those of the bite wounds sustained by the victim. In addition, the proximity of the bear to the location of the incident contributed to the officers’ confidence that the right bear was located.
Yamashita says because the bear was so large, had attacked a person and continued to roam in town limits, it was clearly a serious threat to people.
“A bear this size and unafraid of humans could have easily killed a person with little effort,” said Yamashita. “It’s unfortunate this bear had to die for this reason, especially when you consider it was totally preventable. Based on our experience, there was no chance this bear could be rehabilitated after it bit a person.”
Aspen and the surrounding areas have endured a busy bear year so far in 2019. In addition to three attacks on humans over the summer, calls to 911 reporting bear encounters have varied between five and 20 a day since mid-June. At least two or three of the daily calls include bears inside homes or attempting to break into homes.