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Human remains found in stomachs of bears near woman’s body in Durango

DURANGO, Colo. (KRDO) -- Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife confirmed that they found human remains inside the stomachs of two of the three bears found near a woman's body in Durango, following a deadly bear attack on Friday night.

A 39-year-old woman went for a walk with her dogs on Friday, her boyfriend found the dogs had returned home by evening, but there was no sign of the woman. When her boyfriend went looking for her, he found her body with obvious signs of a bear attack.

CPW used a dog team to quickly find three bears near the scene, a female black bear with her two yearlings. The bears were euthanized and a necropsy revealed that two of them had human remains in their stomachs. Aside from that, CPW's wildlife pathologist said she did not find anything abnormal in the bears and all three seemed to be healthy without any signs of disease.

The La Plata County coroner's office will perform an autopsy on Tuesday to determine official cause of death and positively identify the remains.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the boyfriend, family and friends of the woman we lost in this tragic event,” said Cory Chick, CPW Southwest Region manager, in a press release. “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."

Chick also said it was very likely that these bears would have attacked again if they hadn't been euthanized.

“Whenever an animal is euthanized, we receive many questions about why that action was necessary,” said CPW Director Dan Prenzlow in a press release. “Our responsibilities to the natural resources of the state are many, but we have no more important duty than to manage these resources in a manner that keeps Coloradans and our visitors safe. Euthanizing wildlife is never an action our officers take lightly, but we have an obligation to prevent additional avoidable harm.”

Bear attacks are extremely rare in Colorado. CPW confirmed that there have only been three fatal bear attacks in the state — in 1971, 1993 and 2009.

CPW wants to remind the public to be bear aware. Over the last two years, CPW received more than 10,000 reports of bear sightings and conflicts. Many of those resulted from poor storage of food or garbage. To learn more about being bear aware, click here.

Local News / News / State & Regional News

Sydnee Stelle


1 Comment

  1. No judgment on this poor woman, it is very sad that she was attacked. I don’t know if she had her animals leashed, but around here there are a lot of folks who walk with unleashed dogs in the national forest trail areas. Dogs will chase down wildlife, scare them out of burrows, etc. Please keep in mind if you walk your dogs in wild areas that if they scare up mountain lion or bear cubs that will lead to a mother to act defensively against the human who can’t run away as quickly as the dogs can.

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