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Black bear attacks sleeping camper in eastern Utah

Thursday, July 10, 2003

SALT LAKE CITY -- A black bear tried to drag a teenager out of his sleeping bag as he and other campers slept under the stars in a remote canyon -- the first bear attack in Utah in 11 years, officials said.

Nick Greeve, 18, of West Linn, Ore., was treated for puncture wounds and lacerations at a hospital in Price and released, officials said. The animal grabbed him by the head and neck, but the other campers chased the bear away after hearing Greeve's screams.

Wildlife officers tried to find the bear to kill it, but the animal apparently had left the area, said Bill Bates, southeastern region wildlife manager for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

Greeve was part of a group of 15 campers and five instructors from the Utah Outdoor Leadership School who were sleeping in the open early Monday in the canyon about 120 miles southeast of Salt Lake City.

"Bear attacks like this are extremely rare, but they do occur," said Craig McLaughlin, mammals coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources.

The group was on an 80-mile, four- to five-day float trip on the Green River.

Bruce Palmer, executive director of the National Outdoor Leadership School headquarters in Wyoming, said it was the first time he had heard of a bear attacking one of the school's groups. The school, founded in 1965, specializes in whitewater rafting trips in areas including Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, Chile and New Zealand.

"We do operate in remote areas. There's a whole variety of risks," Palmer said.

Greeve was on his way home to Oregon on Wednesday.

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On the Net:

North American Bear Center: http://www.bear.org/Black/BB--Home.html

Division of Wildlife Resources: http://www.wildlife.utah.gov/bear/

Outdoor Leadership School: http://www.nols.edu/


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