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Bear Attack Victim: 'He Bit Me 6 Times'

DURANGO, Colo. (CBS4)- Wildlife officials say garbage at campsites near Durango is to blame for attracting the bear that attacked a camper, seriously injuring him. That bear was put down.

Wildlife officials will conduct DNA tests on the bear to determine if it was the same animal that attacked two people last week.

Joshua Barber
Joshua Barber describes being attacked by a bear (credit: Durango Herald)

All three attacks happened just outside of downtown Durango where authorities claim people are camping illegally and dumping their garbage.

One man described fighting off the bear who was attacking his friend, Joshua Barber, early Monday morning.

"Picking him up and carrying him out... we were covered in blood. I had black blood all over my face," Marcus Shirley told the Durango Herald.

A trail of blood remained on the ground where the bear attacked Barber.

"He tackled me twice, man. He bit me like six times... stuck his claws in my chest," said Barber.

joshua barber's chest
Joshua Barber's chest after he was attacked by a bear (credit: Durango Herald)

Marcus told the Durango Herald the nearly 400 pound bear was biting Barber's head and neck so he sprinted to his friend's side, shouting and hoping to stop the bear.

"Me and my friend Matt and our two dogs fought this bear for about 15 minutes," said Marcus.

As the bear ran off, emergency responders came to Barber's aid.

Drayton Harrison, with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, told the Durango Herald that another man was bitten by a bear just a few hours earlier.

"Everything here is some kind of food source," said Harrison when describing the illegal campsite.

Wildlife officials say piles of garbage in the woods are attracting bears.

"The problem is that bears are so smart and it's learned behavior. If they've been to a campsite where they've got food, they've been rewarded. They'll go from campsite to campsite just to see if someone else has left food out for them," said Harrison.

Wildlife officials tracked down the bear where it was shot and killed. DNA tests will determine whether it was the same animal involved in the other attacks.

Marcus said he's glad his friend is okay but also said he's done with camping, "That's an experience I never want to do again."

Barber had 16 staples in his head but is expected to recover.

Additional Information:

See the entire interview with Barber on the Durango Herald's website.

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