A 74-year-old Apache Junction woman is recovering after she was attacked by a bear at Ponderosa Campground in Payson on Thursday morning.
The woman was injured when the bear ripped a hole in the tent where she, her husband and their dog had been sleeping about 4:30 a.m. in a portion of the Tonto National Forest, just off Highway 260 about 10 miles east of Payson, according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
After tearing open the tent, the bear reportedly stuck its head in and clawed at the woman, leaving her with bruises and a cut on her scalp. She was treated at Payson Regional Medical Center for non-life-threatening injuries and released. The woman’s husband and dog were not hurt, according to Game and Fish.
The bear returned to the campground twice later that morning. The campground host chased the bear, which retreated. Then it returned a short time later and attacked other campers in their tent.
Campers were eventually evacuated from the area.
“Public safety is our first priority,” said Jim Paxon, information chief with Arizona Game and Fish Department. “This bear poses a threat to public safety and therefore needs to be lethally removed.”
Game and Fish officials are still looking for the bear so it can be killed and checked for disease, Paxon said.
Bear attacks on humans are rare. There have only been seven documented cases of bear attacks in Arizona since 1990, including the one on Thursday morning, according to Arizona Game and Fish.
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