Mother’s screams saved five-year-old daughter from bear’s clutches

A five-year-old girl snatched by a black bear outside her home in Colorado was saved by the quick thinking of her mother, who scared the animal away, according to wildlife officials.

The girl, who has not been named, is expected to make a full recovery despite needing more than 70 stitches after the attack on Sunday.

Wildlife officials said they killed the bear believed to be responsible for the attack later that day close to the city of Grand Junction, about 240 miles (386 kilometers) west of Denver.

The girl’s mother told state wildlife officers that her daughter went outside around 2:30 am after hearing noises she thought might be coming from her dog. The mother said she heard screaming and found her daughter being dragged by a large black bear.

She told authorities that the bear dropped the girl after she screamed at it. 

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JT Romatzke, regional manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, said: "Before the sun rose on the morning of Mother’s Day, she truly exemplified the love and courage of what it takes to be a mother and, because of those actions, her child is here today.

In 911 recordings, the girl’s father says calmly: "She’s just missing a chunk out of her back, a couple spots in her leg."

The girl escaped without fractures or damage to organs, according to Charles Breaux, a paediatric surgeon at St Mary’s Medical Centre in Grand Junction, who said she needed 77 external stitches and more internally.

Bear sightings are fairly common in the high-desert area, though it is not their typical habitat. With acorns and berries plentiful in the mountains where they usually live, officials believe the animal had hibernated locally and became accustomed to easily finding food near homes.

Wildlife officers shot the 125-pound bear suspected in the attack on Sunday evening as it approached another home. They estimated its age as two years.

The attack led officials to renew their call for residents to secure food sources and use bear-proof trash cans.  Colorado has an estimated 17,000 to 20,000 bears, a population that’s considered robust in a state of 5.7 million people that also attracts many tourists.

Every year, there are cases of hungry bears getting into cars and sometimes buildings to find food, especially during periods of drought.

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