A black bear has been killed by wildlife officials after it attacked a jogger in Washington state.
The jogger, described as an adult male, sustained multiple injuries to his hands and feet in the attack, which took place on a trail north of Lake Whatcom in central Whatcom County on the morning of August 3.
The man received hospital treatment for his injuries and was released that same day, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
After being made aware of the attack, officers, accompanied by a Karelian bear dog, went searching for the animal. It was located and “lethally removed,” according to a WDFW press release. It wasn’t specified how the bear was killed.
“We are extremely thankful that the victim is recovering and receiving medical care from this unfortunate encounter,” Jennifer Maurstad, the WDFW Police North Puget Sound Captain, said in the press release. “He did everything right during the incident and we wish him a speedy recovery. Wild animal encounters are unpredictable but, in most cases, they wish to avoid conflict as much as we do.”
As of 2007, there were estimated to be between 25,000 and 30,000 black bears in Washington. On average, black bears in the western U.S. weigh between 100 and 300 pounds and stand at between 2.5 feet and 3 feet at the shoulder when on all fours and at about 5 feet when standing upright.
WDFW states there has only been one recorded fatal black bear attack on a human in Washington, which took place in 1974. Since 1970 there have been 18 other black bear-human encounters that resulted in injury, with the most recent—apart from the jogger’s encounter—being in 2015.
Grizzly bears or brown bears are regarded as more dangerous than the black bear, according to Bear.org. Populations of this species in Washington are small and isolated due to habitat fragmentation in relation to human settlements and highways.
Multiple wildlife agencies across the U.S. note that one key step to avoiding bear conflicts is by removing food sources. Bears that are used to getting fed may lose their fear of people, making an encounter more likely. This can be dangerous for both bears and people.
The WDFW advises that if a bear approaches a person, the person should “identify yourself as a human by standing up, waving your hands above your head, and talking in a low voice. Back away, avoiding direct eye contact. Don’t run from a bear.
“WDFW recommends making noise and leashing pets while hiking. Be aware of your surroundings as to not accidentally startle a bear. WDFW recommends carrying bear spray that is readily accessible and knowing how to use it.”
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