Bear attacks in the news


In Cambodia, two men were mauled by a bear of uncertain species. The Asiatic black bear and the sun bear both occur in the area. From the sketchy details in the article, this attack would appear to fit the MO of the latter species. It does not prey on people, but will claw them in a quick flurry when it feels threatened.

In Romania, a brown bear killed a 20-year-old man. Conflicts between people and brown bears are an ongoing problem in that country. These European brown bears are of the same species as the grizzlies and other browns of North America. They only rarely prey on people, but are touchy in defense and occasionally kill people in both hemispheres.

In North America, black bears have been in the news. Near Vancouver, BC, a black bear mauled a woman in her driveway. As she fought the bear, Neighbors and passing motorists came to her rescue, pelting the animal with rocks and threatening it with a broom. The bear finally broke off the attack when a motorist rammed it with his SUV. It retreated behind a house, where police shot it dead. The woman suffered significant tissue loss from one arm, four broken ribs, and serious lacerations to her head that required 20 staples. She also had lesser wounds all over her body. This appears to have been an attempt at predation. Here are articles from The Canadian Press, CTV, and the Globe and Mail. News photos show the bear as a rather unimpressive cinnamon-colored specimen; that color is not unusual among “black” bears.

The following day, officials shot another black bear in the same neighborhood after it broke into a house. This bear, a much larger one, had a history of threatening children.

Another black bear attacked an eight-year-old boy in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. The boy’s father and 10-year-old brother fought the bear off. The younger boy needed stitches and staples to close wounds to his torso, arms, and head. The father received minor wounds. Rangers shot and killed the bear, an 86-pound juvenile male.

There are eight species of bear, all of them formidable, though the panda and the South American spectacled bear hurt people only under extreme provocation. The sun and sloth bears, both found in Asia, don't prey on people, but are quick to perceive a threat and will claw people badly. The sloth bear, in particular, has killed many people in this manner. The remaining four species--polar, brown, American black, and Asiatic black--are all dangerous species that occasionally prey on people.

More information about bear attacks appears in Deadly Kingdom.

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