Killer bear not the same as bear seen in Pinebrook | ParkRecord.com

Killer bear not the same as bear seen in Pinebrook

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

The black bear that killed an 11-year-old boy after ripping him from his tent while he screamed Sunday night in American Fork Canyon is not the same cinnamon bear with a torn left ear blamed for raiding garbage cans in Summit Park, wildlife officials say.

"We’re confident it’s not the same one," said Scott White, a Utah Division of Wildlife Resources biologist.

Veterinary officials at Utah State University made the determination Monday afternoon before White told The Park Record the bear killed Monday that investigators believed attacked the boy was not the same animal that has entered neighborhoods in the Snyderville Basin in the past few weeks.

"[An autopsy] on the bear confirmed that this is the bear who attacked and killed this young boy," said Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Director Jim Karpowitz in a prepared statement. "Our hearts and condolences go out to the young boy’s family."

The black bear shot and killed Monday weighed almost 400 pounds and was perhaps 10 years old, according to White.

"Why it did what it did, who knows? I can’t even make a guess to say why this bear did it," he said.

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White said he was comfortable with officers euthanizing the animal after "what this bear did."

"When a bear attacks a human and kills them, that’s, unacceptable," he said, adding that it’s the first bear-related fatality in Utah. "We’ve been here for so many years and this is the first time. It’s frustrating."

The boy was inside a tent camping with his family when the attack occurred. White compared the attack to when a bear kills a livestock or mule deer.

"I don’t think animals sit and think what is right and wrong," White said. "They’re made to eat."

Violent black bear attacks in Utah, however, are rare, said Dave Swenson, a DWR conservation officer in western Summit County.

But wildlife officers in Utah have dealt with roughly a dozen black bears in the past few weeks that have become too comfortable around people, DWR biologist Craig Clyde said.

"There are more this year than there were last year or the year before," Clyde said in a recent interview.

Black bears in Utah have a range of roughly five miles, said Swenson, adding that living within 100 square-miles in the Uinta Mountains east of Kamas are about 28 different black bears.