Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Human-Wildlife Conflicts Volume 2, Number 1, Pages 12-14, Spring 2008. Published and copyright by Jack H. Berryman Institute. http://www.berrymaninstitute.org/journal/index.html


In June 2007 a black bear (Ursus americanus) took an 11-year-old boy from the tent in which he was sleeping at a semi-wilderness campsite in the Uinta National Forest in Utah and killed him. The off ending bear, a 381-pound adult male, subsequently was destroyed by personnel of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and USDA/APHIS/Wildlife Services. The tragic incident, raises the number of recorded human fatalities caused by black bears during the period 1900–2007 to about 52. Although deaths caused by large carnivores are rare, the media attention associated with them focuses public concern for the responsibility of state and federal agencies for informing or shielding the public from hazards posed by wild animals on public lands. One ad hoc poll of the incident in Utah suggested that many people believed that the U.S. Forest Service should have done more to warn campers of the danger, including alerting them of a previous incident by the bear that was responsible for the boy’s death. Other people even have suggested that the campground should have been closed to the public.