A Colorado woman walking her dogs has been found dead near her home in what appears to be a bear attack, wildlife officials have reported.
The body of the unidentified 39-year-old woman was discovered near Durango by her boyfriend on Friday after she failed to return home, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Jason Clay. The two dogs had returned home a few hours earlier without her.
Wildlife officers responded and “observed signs of consumption on the body and an abundance of poop and bear hair at the scene,” according to a statement from CPW.
An official cause of death will be issued following an autopsy.
CPW called in a team of dogs who quickly located a 10 year old female black bear with two yearlings nearby. All three have been euthanized and the bodies will be examined at the CPW Wildlife Health Lab.
“It is a tragic event and a sad reminder that bears are wild and potentially dangerous,” said Cory Chick, regional director of the National Wildlife Agency. “Out of caution, the bears have been removed for public safety.”
Bear attacks are “extremely rare,” he said. The last fatal bear attack in Colorado was in 2009.
Chick has asked the public to avoid the area as an investigation by CPW and La Plata County authorities continues. Wildlife officers worked all night and morning to process the scene, looking for evidence to corroborate it was a bear attack.
Several people have reported bears in the Durango area this spring, one of which shot down a bird feeder, but this was the first attack.
Last month, Montana wilderness guide Carl Mock, 40, was fatally maimed by a grizzly bear who officials said was likely defending a moose carcass near Yellowstone National Park. Mock was attacked while fishing near a campsite.
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