Fla. Officials Kill Bear Linked to Attack on Mom

Dec 5, 2013 1:18pm
spl florida black bear ll 131205 16x9 608 Fla. Officials Kill Bear Linked to Attack on Mom

A black bear caught on the edge of the Florida's Ocala National Forest is shown in a trap in this May 29, 2013 photo.

Florida wildlife officials have caught and euthanized a bear that “closely fits” the description of a bear that attacked a woman as she was walking her dogs on Monday night.

Some 48 hours after the Longwood, Fla., mother was hospitalized and underwent emergency surgery for her injuries, a 200-pound bear was caught and killed by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

“The trapped female bear closely fits the description of the animal that was involved in incident that injured Susan Chalfant, 54, while she was walking her dogs Monday night,” FWC spokeswoman Karen Parker said in a statement.

Parker told ABC News that the description of the bear was provided by family members who spoke with the victim and that the FWC is still investigating.

“We don’t know positively for sure it’s the same bear,” said Parker. “The only person who was a witness was the woman who was hurt and our investigators still have not been able to speak with her.”

Seminole County Fire Rescue Lt. Alisa Keyes told ABC News shortly the unidentified woman was attacked at 8:05 p.m. Monday, but was able to break free and run to a nearby residence where a neighbor called 911.

She was alert and oriented but had suffered serious undisclosed injuries, Keyes said. The woman was rushed to Orlando Regional Medical Center. The hospital would not confirm the victim’s current condition, at the request of her family.

The attack took place within about a mile of the Wekiva River basin, which is known as a bear habitat.

“Since the incident resulted in serious injuries, we decided to follow the course of an abundance of caution and put the bear down,” said Nick Wiley, FWC executive director. “Because public safety is a top priority we will continue working with the community and our trapping efforts.”

Keyes says this is the first full-fledged attack by a bear on a human she’s ever heard of in the state.

Neighbors say bear sightings in the area have become increasingly common lately.

“Two weeks ago I saw one go right across my driveway, into my neighbor’s yard. I watched it. Swear to God. Watched it go through a trash can and then walk out in the woods,” an unidentified neighbor said.

Last year, wildlife officials in nearby Orlando had to tranquilize a black bear, causing it to fall from a tree.

ABC News’ Anthony Castellano and Steve Osunsami contributed to this report.

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