December 4th, 2013
08:26 AM ET

Hunt For Bear That Mauled Woman in Florida

It's not being called a bear attack yet. But authorities are setting traps and scouring parts of central Florida for the animal that mauled a woman and left her face severely injured. CNN's John Zarrella reports.

The woman, identified as 54-year-old Susan Chalfant, was walking her dogs in Longwood when she was wounded. Her face bloodied, she rushed to the house of a neighbor, who called 911.

"She thinks it was a bear," the neighbor said in the 911 call.

"How old is she?" the dispatched asked.

"I can't tell," the neighbor replied. "She's so bloodied, I can't tell."

Authorities say the woman is resting in a hospital.

Florida Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Karen Parker said officials aren't ready to call the case a bear "attack" yet because it's not clear what led up to the incident.

"We're calling it a bear incident simply because we simply don't know what happened," Parker said.

"Bears are very, very elusive. They're pretty much more afraid of you than you are of them, and normally when they see a human and they've not been fed and have not been habituated - they're going to run away. They don't want to encounter us any more than we want to encounter them."

“Unprovoked black bear attacks in Florida are extremely rare. The first ever documented by the wildlife commission was last year,” Zarrella says.

“The problem, biologists say, is that people are now living in areas the bears once called home. And bears like to roam.”

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