A mother has scared away a black bear which attacked her five-year-old daughter outside their home in Colorado, officials said.
The girl’s mother told Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) officers that her daughter went outside around 2:30am on Sunday 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, but the animal dropped the girl and ran off after she shouted at it.
“She came out, she yelled at the animal. She screamed at it- and by doing so she probably saved her little girl’s life,” CPW spokesman Mike Porras told FOX31 Denver.
Whilst the child has not been officially identified, her father, Duane Cyr, has reportedly identified her as his daughter, Kimberly Cyr.
She needed more than 70 stitches but doctors expect the girl to “mend very well,” hospital spokeswoman Teri Cavanagh said.
Paediatric surgeon Charles Breaux Jr said the bear apparently bit her on her back side but she didn’t have any injuries to her brain or organs or suffer any fractures.
Mike Porras of CPW said later Sunday morning her condition was upgraded to fair condition.
Wildlife officers shot a 125lb (57k), approximately two-year-old male bear they believe to have been responsible on Sunday night as it was walking up to a nearby home in East Orchard Mesa, a semi-rural area about 240 miles (386 km) west of Denver.
“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,” said J.T. Romatzke, CPW regional manager.
Officials have urged local residents to make sure bins are secure, keep pet food inside and immediately report any further sightings of bears.