Authorities Kill 2 Bears in Arizona; May Be Linked to Attacks
Two bears that may be linked to three recent attacks in the area of Payson, Ariz., have been tracked and killed, according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
Dogs picked up their scents Sunday night (June 24) south of the Ponderosa Campground in the Tonto National Forest, which is the site of the recent attacks, AZFamily.com reported.
Game and Fish spokesman Jim Paxon said an adult male bear about 160 pounds was caught one mile south of the campground at 9:25 p.m. Sunday and a large adult female was found three miles south of the campground in the Hellsgate Wilderness at about 1:30 a.m. today.
DNA testing will confirm if these bears were the ones involved in the attacks on two men and one woman.
Peter Baca, 30, of Tempe, is in critical condition but is expected to survive after he was attacked by a bear Sunday morning while sleeping in a tent in the Ponderosa Campground. Baca suffered serious wounds to his head and arm, as well as a broken hand and severed ear.
A construction worker was attacked by a bear while he was sleeping in an unfinished cabin in the Tonto Village area Thursday night. Jason Amperse received bite marks and scratches on his legs.
A bear attacked a 74-year-old woman sleeping in a tent in the Ponderosa Campground May 31. The bear reportedly stuck its head in and clawed at the woman, leaving her with bruises and a laceration on her scalp.
Officials estimate that there are 2,500 to 3,000 bears in Arizona.
Forest officials have temporarily closed the Ponderosa Campground, the Christopher Creek Campground and the Sharp Creek Campground in response to the attacks.