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Tuesday, 20 August, 2002, 02:01 GMT 03:01 UK
Bear kills baby in New York State
Black bear
Black bears are not noted for attacking humans
A five-month old baby girl has been killed by a black bear which snatched her from outside a house in the US town of Fallsburg, in New York State.


Eyewitnesses tell us that they actually saw the child in the bear's jaws

Brent Lawrence,
Fallsburg police chief
Fallsburg Police Chief Brent Lawrence said the baby's mother managed to rush two other children to safety, but was too late to get her youngest child.

The baby girl, who has not been identified, was sitting in a push chair on the front porch of the house when the bear knocked her to the ground and then dragged her towards nearby woods.

A short time later police officers shot the bear.

Officials say this is the first fatal attack of its kind in the area, which lies 110 kilometres (70 miles) north-west of New York City.

Chase

Fallsburg police said the mother of the baby girl was on the front porch attending to two other young children when she heard someone yell "bear, bear".

She is said to have taken the other two children inside.

"She went back out to get the child, the baby, and it was gone. Now, eyewitnesses tell us that they actually saw the child in the bear's jaws," the local police chief said.

Members of the girl's family gave chase, throwing rocks at the animal.

Eventually the baby's father managed to snatch her back but his daughter was dead.

"In all my many years, 34 summers, we've had them eat birdseed, get into trouble eating dog food in people's yards, but black bears are just not noted for attacking humans," the state's chief pathologist, Ward Stone, said.

Police chief Lawrence said: "It may be the first season that it may have been on its own, and it may very well have perceived this infant as a food source."

See also:

09 Jun 01 | Americas
25 Jul 00 | Science/Nature
27 Jul 99 | In Depth
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