A Washington State woman punched a black bear in the nose after the bear attacked her outside of her home on Saturday morning. According to a statement by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the unnamed woman from Leavenworth had been charged by a female black bear as she was letting her dog out of the house.
The woman sustained non-life sustaining injuries and was treated and released from a local hospital. The bear was later located and killed. Her two cubs, approximately nine months old, were captured, assessed, and transported to a PAWS wildlife rehabilitation facility.
“We are extremely thankful that the victim is receiving medical care from this unfortunate encounter,” said Captain Mike Jewell. “Public safety is our priority; our officers and staff were quick to mobilize to locate the animal and secure the scene.”Statement via WDFW
The woman did not see the bear attack, and professional wildlife experts stated the woman did the right thing by attacking the bear after the bear had knocked her to the ground. It is suggested that people seeing a bear approach clap their hands, make lots of noise and wave their arms. In this particular instance, the bear had knocked the woman over, and the woman reacted when she turned around and punched the bear in the face.
Authorities stated that an examination of the bear post mortem showed it to be very overweight, indicating the animal had been eating trash and leftovers. It’s very tragic that the bear had to be put down, but the blame primarily lies on humans who think it’s okay to leave food out, have not secured their trash cans or have overtly fed the bears because they are “so cute.” This cost a mother bear her life.
We are all thankful the woman was not hurt, but we are saddened that the bear who was acting entirely on her instincts (maybe she thought her cubs were being threatened?) had to die because of human interference.
In general bears avoid people, but they’re naturally curious animals. If a bear walks toward you, 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. While recreating, WDFW recommends carrying bear spray that is readily accessible and knowing how to use it. More information on how to use bear spray is available on WDFW’s blog.