Black bear mauls to death woman as California’s first fatal attack

POING, GERMANY - APRIL 27: A brown bear cub plays with his mother, Mia, at wildlife park on April 27, 2007, in Poing, Germany. There is a discussion in Bavaria over reintroducing bears into the wild since roaming brown bear "Bruno" was shot last summer in the Bavarian Alps. Brown bears were originally domestic in Germany, but the species was eradicated about 170 years ago. Brown bear Mia in the Poing wildlife Park is from Swedish origin, her three cubs Molly, Mette and Maja were born December 28, 2006. (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)
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In the Sierra Nevada, a 71-year-old woman was found dead in her home, and is the first ever known fatal black bear attack wildlife officials reported this week.

According to the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office, Patrice Miller was found deceased in November in her Downieville home, officials believed it had been a bear that entered her home after she died. Recently, however an autopsy confirmed the bear killed Miller according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission.

This incident is the first known, documented fatal attack by a black bear in California history.

Cal Fish and Wildlife

It had been on November 8 in the small town of 290 people that deputies had been called to do a wellness check, and when her body was discovered, the preliminary investigation stated the woman had already died when the bear entered her home. As of Thursday, however it has been confirmed the bear caused the woman’s death.

The bear has since been captured and killed and DNA has confirmed it the bear responsible for the woman’s death.

Bears were here years before humans, and humans need to know how to safely share the environment:

Bear family to be killed

Once conditioned to human sources of food, bears will seek them out, creating conflicts with humans. Attracting bears to urban areas can also increase risk of vehicle collisions, harming both humans and bears. The bear’s behavior will not stop voluntarily, and unless the nuisance behavior can be corrected, bears may be killed to ensure public safety. In order to avoid these deaths, food sources must be removed. People have a responsibility to the wildlife whose habitat they are sharing. Never Feed a Bear! 

Feeding Wildlife is Illegal

Do NOT feed black bears or other wildlife. Feeding big game animals is prohibited in California (Title 14 CCR § 251.3. Prohibition Against Feeding Big Game Mammals)

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