Florida Bear Attack Leaves Woman with 'Traumatic' Injuries, Authorities Still Searching for Animal

A woman is alive but facing a long recovery after she was attacked and mauled by a black bear as she was walking her dog near her home in Florida.

Local reports indicate that Susan Chalfant, 54, was walking her dog in Longwood when the bear suddenly attacked her inflicting severe injuries to her head and face.

The attack was not fatal and Chalfant was able to contact a neighbor who then called 911.

"She's pleading for quick, quick help. She's in severe pain," the caller told 911.

Chalfant is still in the hospital recovering from traumatic injuries stemming from the Monday attack. Officials would not reveal the extent of her injuries out of respect for the woman's family.

Officials have begun searching for what's believed to be a black bear with Florida Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Karen Parker describing the attack as unusual.

"Bears are very, very elusive," she told CNN. "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."

"There were no witnesses to the attack, and we have not been able to speak to (the victim) yet, so we don't know exactly what happened," she said.

Authorities were able to capture a female yearling bear, but officials don't believe it was the bear involved in the attack. Investigators will use the bear's DNA to aid in the investigation.

"Catching a bear is a difficult task and we're going to do the best we can to make sure it's all squared away," wildlife official Mike Orlando told the Orlando Sentinel.

There are about 3,000 black bears in Florida, but since they are a protected species it is illegal to hunt them.

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