TRIMBLE, Colo. — A Colorado woman was found dead Friday night from an apparent bear attack, wildlife officials said.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials said the 39-year-old woman from Durango went walking with her two dogs Friday morning and when her boyfriend returned home from work, the dogs were outside but his girlfriend was not.
The boyfriend, who has not been identified, told La Plata County Sheriff’s deputies that he got home around 8:30 p.m., saw the dogs and started searching for his girlfriend. He found her body around 9:30 p.m. and called 911.
Wildlife officials arrived and saw that parts of the woman were chewed on and found evidence of “an abundance of bear scat and hair” in the area. The La Plata County coroner will conduct an autopsy to determine her cause of death.
Officers using dogs searched the area and found a mother bear and two cubs nearby. The bears were euthanized and taken to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Health Lab in Fort Collins for a necropsy. From looking at the mother bear’s teeth, she is believed to be about 10 years old.
Officials warn that bears become active statewide in the spring. There have already been multiple sightings in the Durango area, including April 19 and March 23, wildlife officials said. But the bears typically do not interact with humans.
“Bear attacks are extremely rare,” Cory Chick, the Southwest Region manager for the wildlife agency said in a statement. “This is a tragic event and a sad reminder that bears are wild and potentially dangerous.”
There have previously been three fatal bear attacks in the state, the wildlife agency said. They were in 1971, 1993 and 2009.