US

Young boy dragged away by bear while playing in grandparents’ garden

A 10-year-old boy has been mauled by a black bear while playing in his grandparents’ garden in the United States.

The animal then attempted to drag the young child away before being shot by police officers, officials in the state of Connecticut said.

The boy was injured but survived the ordeal. He was taken to hospital for treatment for a wounded thigh, claw marks on his back and bites on his foot and ankle.

James Butler, the boy’s grandfather, witnessed the attack. He said his grandson was playing near a trampoline when the bear emerged from thick woods behind his house.

“I heard him yell ‘bear’ and when I looked up, I saw his leg in the bear’s mouth and the bear trying to drag him across the lawn,” Mr Butler told the Republican-American of Waterbury newspaper.

In an attempt to scare off the animal, Mr Butler, who uses a wheelchair, said he threw a metal bar at its head.

The bear initially let go of the boy, but then grabbed him a second time and used its claws to try and roll the youngster on to his back.

A neighbour, alerted by the child’s screams, raced over to the garden and managed to frighten the bear by brandishing a pipe and yelling, Mr Butler said.

‘A big threat’

After Mr Butler and the boy got back inside safely, the animal returned, walking up a wheelchair ramp and peering at them through their screen door.

“We thought he was coming through the screen. No doubt he was a big threat,” he said.

A short time later, state police and officers from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection arrived and fatally shot the bear.

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The bear population in Connecticut is growing, according to Jenny Dixon, a state biologist, increasing the risk of dangerous encounters between the animals and humans.

Bears are becoming more used to humans, she said, and developing a taste for their food.

Several bear attacks have happened in the US in recent months.

Four days ago, a hunter was knocked over and stepped on by a grizzly bear in Montana, but managed to escape.

In March, a 40-year-old hiker is believed to have died in a suspected attack north of Yellowstone National Park in Montana.

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