Wildlife officials euthanized another bear Tuesday in central Florida, three days after a woman was mauled in a region being terrorized by the most dangerous bears of all — those that have lost their fear of humans.
The female bear was put down after it was captured Tuesday afternoon in Lake Worth, near Orlando, Greg Workman, a spokesman for the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, told NBC News.
It was at least the seventh bear the state has killed in recent days in the Lake Worth area, which is next to a nature preserve where bears and humans occasionally cross paths.
A 250-pound male bear was shot to death Sunday night in the "immediate vicinity" of where the woman was mauled, Workman said. State officials have reported that at least five other bears have been put down in the area.
It took 30 staples to close the gaping wound in the scalp of Terri Frana, who was attacked Saturday in a gated community near Heathrow after the family's garage door was left open.
Frana told NBC's TODAY that she was surprised by five bears in her driveway, one of which then came "charging at me."
"She opened her jaw and clamped down onto my head, and I could just hear her teeth marks going through my scalp," Frana said.
The violence of the attack was dramatically captured in audio of the 911 call (MP3) from her husband and her oldest son, which the Seminole County Sheriff's Office made public Tuesday.
Against a background of bloodcurdling screams, the teen tells the operator in the 2-minute, 49-second call that "she came in screaming and said a bear attacked her."
His father then comes on the call to say: "There's a lot of bleeding. ... It looks like the face."
Despite the fear the bears have spread as they trundle through the neighborhood, wildlife officials have come under criticism for their policy of killing them. But they say they have no alternative — with hibernation season ending, more bears, not fewer, are likely to emerge on the streets.
The bears are "food-conditioned," Workman told NBC station WESH of Orlando, and aren't the least bit afraid of humans.
"That's a definite sign these bears are dangerous bears," he said.
First published April 15 2014, 4:15 PM