A police chief in the Catskill region of New York says the black bear that killed a 5-month-old girl Monday may have been on its own for the first time, looking for food.
Authorities and wildlife experts are expressing surprise over the episode. They say black bears are not known for attacking humans.
The girl was in a stroller outside a summer bungalow when the bear (pictured, left) knocked the baby girl out of the stroller and snatched her up in its jaws and ran toward the nearby woods. The girl’s mother had gone inside with her other two children after someone spotted the bear — and when she came outside again for the baby, she was gone.
Others in the bungalow community pursued the bear, which dropped the baby. She was later pronounced dead from injuries to her head and neck. The bear was shot soon after by a Fallsburg police officer.
The girl’s Orthodox Jewish family was from the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. The mother had gotten her two other children inside the bungalow and was headed back to get the baby when the bear attacked.
The police officer who shot and killed the bear says, “It was just standing there.” David Decker says the bear climbed up a tree as he approached — and that’s when he shot it.
Initial tests showed that the bear, a young adult male, didn’t have rabies.
In accordance with Jewish tradition, little Ester Schwimmer was buried last night in New Brunswick, N.J.
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