A mother scared away a black bear which attacked her five-year-old daughter outside their home in Colorado, officials have said.
The woman told Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) officers that her daughter went outside at about 2.30am on Sunday, Mother’s Day in the US, 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.
While the child has not been officially identified, her father, Duane Cyr, has reportedly confirmed she is his daughter, Kimberly Cyr.
The little girl needed more than 70 stitches but doctors expect her to “mend very well,” hospital spokeswoman Teri Cavanagh said.
Paediatric surgeon Charles Breaux Jr said the bear apparently bit her but that she did not have any injuries to her brain or organs, and did not suffer any fractures.
Wildlife officers shot a 125lb (57kg), 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 JT 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.