A campground and hiking area just above Altadena remained closed Monday after a bloody, terrifying attack on a camper in his tent by a small bear in the overnight hours of the weekend.
Rangers planned to track and shoot the bear, but there was no word as the work week began that they had located the offending animal.
One bear was nabbed over the weekend, but tests determined it wasn’t the right bear and that animal was released.
Officials said they don’t want to take any chances that they may harm the wrong bear, so they have quite a specific procedure in place to figure it out.
“We collected the sleeping bag, the tent that was ripped. We grabbed some bear feces, and then we take blood, hair, saliva swabs from the bear. And if we have a match on the two, we know we have the offending animal,” said Lt. Jon Healy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. He was quoted in broadcast and online reports.
But there was no match after all that, so the innocent bear was released back to the wild.
“People just think the animals euthanized strictly for revenge or retribution. It’s not really about that,” Healy said. The bear could be a greater danger to people “if the animal has lost its fear of humans.” And authorities also want to see if there are any indications the bear has contracted a disease.
The Milliard Campground has been closed indefinitely after the late Friday night, early Saturday morning attack, the sheriff’s Altadena station reported.
The camper needed about 18 sutures to sew up the cut on his forehead, deputies said.
The small bear pushed through a tent wall and appeared to be attempting to open the tent. The man had been looking at his iPad when his tent fell down on him.
Two other campers saw an approximately 120-pound bear running away from the area. The victim did not know he was injured until he felt blood dripping on his face, deputies said.
–Staff and wire reports