A popped beach ball may lead to a bear’s death in Colorado, wildlife officials reported.
A bear roaming through a Monument Lake Resort campsite stepped on a beach ball, popping it and frightening a 2-year-old girl inside a nearby tent, a Colorado Parks & Wildlife news release said.
When the girl’s mother went to comfort the crying child, she brushed against the tent wall about 2 a.m. Friday, June 24, officials said.
The bear swatted at the movement, tearing through the tent and scratching the woman on the head, the release said. The bear then wandered away.
Now Colorado Parks & Wildlife officers are looking for the bear, which will be euthanized under state policies because it injured a human, the release said.
”The woman was not seriously injured and did not seek medical attention,” officials said.
“This is an unfortunate incident because the bear was not aggressively pursuing the victim,” Mike Brown, area wildlife manager for the region, said in a statement. “If the bear intended to harm the woman, the outcome would have been much worse.”
The agency set a trap for the bear and called for a U.S. Department of Agriculture dog team to search for the animal, the release said. The bear has not been found.
Officials advised that people sleep away from tent walls as bears will sometimes react to movement inside, the release said.
Bear attacks on humans are rare, the National Park Service says, and most happen when the bear is protecting its cubs, its food or its space.
NPS advises people to play dead if they’re attacked by a brown bear, but to flee or fight back if attacked by a black bear.
Monument Lake Resort is west of Trinidad, which is south of Colorado Springs near the New Mexico border.