Colorado wildlife officials say they believe they have killed a black bear that attacked and injured a 5-year-old girl near Grand Junction early Sunday.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife says the bear was killed overnight between Sunday and Monday about a half-mile away from where the attack happened in the East Orchard Mesa neighborhood near the Colorado River southwest of Palisade.
Based on a description of the bear and its behavior, "wildlife officers are confident the dead bear is the same bear involved in the attack on the girl."
"The necropsy, along with DNA results will provide the confirmation, but we are confident we have the right bear," Area Wildlife Manager Kirk Oldham said. "However, we will leave all three traps in place for the time being out of an abundance of caution."
The traps will remain in place in the meantime and state and federal wildlife officers will continue searching the area for additional bears.
The attack happened at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday in East Orchard Mesa after the young girl went outside to investigate noises that she thought were possibly caused by her dog. The child's mother discovered the attack when she heard screaming and saw a large black bear dragging the girl.
The bear dropped the child after the mother screamed at the animal.
State and federal wildlife officials say they will also keep scouring the area around the attack for additional black bears.
The girl on Monday was in good condition at St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction. Pediatric surgeon Charles Breaux Jr. on Sunday said the bear apparently bit the girl on her back side but she didn't have any injuries to her brain or organs or suffer any fractures. He said she received 77 external stitches and more internally.
Doctors expect the girl to "mend very well," hospital spokeswoman Teri Cavanagh said Monday.
Doctors will continue to monitor the child to make sure she does not develop any infections or rabies.