DURANGO, COLORADO — A 39-year-old woman walking her dogs near Durango, Colorado was found dead Friday night after an apparent bear attack, according to a Colorado Parks and Wildlife release.
The woman’s body was found off U.S. Highway 550 near Trimble, north of Durango.
According to the La Plata County Sheriff’s office, the woman’s boyfriend said she went walking with her two dogs earlier Friday.
When the boyfriend returned home later in the evening, he found the two dogs but the woman was missing.
The boyfriend found the woman’s body around 9:30 p.m. and called 911.
Wildlife officers responded and observed signs of consumption on the body and an abundance of bear scat and hair at the scene.
A dog team quickly found a sow (female) black bear with two yearlings nearby. The bears were euthanized and are being taken to CPW’s Wildlife Health Lab in Fort Collins for a necropsy, according to the CPW release.
An examination of the sow’s teeth led wildlife officers to believe she was over 10 years old.
“Bear attacks are extremely rare,” said CPW Southwest Region manager Cory Chick in the release. “This is a tragic event and a sad reminder that bears are wild and potentially dangerous. Out of an abundance of caution, the bears were removed for public safety.”
The CPW said they have received a few reports from the Durango area of bears becoming active this spring.
CPW says human remains were found inside the stomachs of the sow and one of the yearling bears during a necropsy. An autopsy of the woman is planned for later this week to determine an official cause of death.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the boyfriend, family and friends of the woman we lost in this tragic event,” Chick said. “We cannot determine with exact certainty how or why this attack took place, but it is important for the public not to cast blame on this woman for the unfortunate and tragic event."
Bears are active statewide and it is important to be Bear Aware. To learn more about how to be safe in bear country, visit the CPW website.