Wildlife officers fatally wounded a bear they believed was the same animal that snatched an 11-year-old boy from his family’s tent near a popular Utah campground and killed the youngster on Sunday (June 17), according to the Associated Press.
The bear had been wounded early on Monday and was pursued by hunters aided by a helicopter and 26 tracking dogs. It was described as a male, possibly 300 pounds and “jet black.” Authorities were sure it was the right animal because the dogs had tracked its scent from the boy’s camp site.
The bear was confirmed dead near the area where the boy was killed, said Lt. Scott White of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
The boy was sleeping alone in one section of the family’s large tent late Sunday in American Fork Canyon. He screamed before he was dragged away in his sleeping bag in a canyon about 30 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, said sheriff’s Lt. Dennis Harris.
The boy’s body was found about 400 yards from the tent, in the direction of another campsite where a bear sighting had been reported earlier in the weekend, Harris said.
“When it’s hot and dry like this, bears are short of food,” said Jim Karpowitz, director of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
“I know of no other fatalities by a black bear in Utah,” Karpowitz said.
Utah is not known to have any grizzly bears, which have attacked and killed people in the northern Rockies.
American Fork Canyon is a popular camping destination. Harris said the family was camping about two miles up a dirt road from a popular campground.