(MESA COUNTY, Colo.) — A 5-year-old girl was attacked by a bear in Colorado early Sunday.
The child, identified by her father as Kimberly Cyr, had gone outside of her home in East Orchard Mesa in the predawn hours to investigate noises she believed were coming from a dog, her mother told authorities.
The mother heard screams about 2:30 a.m. outside her home, which is above the Colorado River Corridor in Grand Junction, and went outside to investigate, according to a news release by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
That’s when she saw a large black bear dragging Kimberly, according to the release. The mother screamed at the bear, which then let her daughter go, the release said.
Rebecca Ferrell, the public information officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, told ABC News that traps had been set for the bear. If the bear is captured, it will be put down and have a necropsy done on it to determine what happened, she said.
Ferrell also said CPW and the U.S. Department of Agriculture were using hounds to locate the bear; the agencies suspended the search, however, because of the warm weather.
Kimberly was initially rushed to St. Mary’s Hospital with serious injuries, but was later upgraded to fair condition, according to CPW.
Kimberly’s father, Duane Cyr, told ABC News that Kimberly was with her mother in the hospital and would be fine.
Ferrell told ABC News that Kimberly surprised the bear, perhaps causing the bear to be frightened.
“It’s 2:30 in the morning, they’re not expecting people to be out and about” at that time, Ferrell said.
Ferrell also told ABC News interactions between humans and bears in Colorado are “extremely rare.”
She said anyone who encounters bears should stay calm and let them know people are there.
“Do not ever run from a bear, do not climb a tree, because a bear can do both of those things much faster than we can,” Ferrell said.
Ferrell also said bears are always looking to eat, and people should be careful about where they keep garbage, bird feeders or pet food.
“We want to make sure that you’re doing everything you can when you’re living and recreating in bear country to minimize their interactions to come find food near you,” Ferrell said.
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