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Bear that attacked woman will be killed, officials say

Game wardens with the California Department of Fish and Game will attempt to capture the bear that attacked a 50-year-old woman Friday morning in Ojai.

If they are successful, the bear will be euthanized.

"Public safety is our No. 1 priority," said agency spokesman Andrew Hughan. "There is scientific evidence that when an animal attacks a person, there is a chance they will do it again."

The attack occurred about 7 a.m. in an area adjacent to the Los Padres National Forest. The woman, who has asked to remain anonymous, was walking her three dogs when she surprised a black bear and a cub.

According to Hughan, it is the policy of the Department of Fish and Game to try to capture and euthanize a wild animal that has made an unprovoked attack on a human.  

Hughan was unwilling to speculate whether game wardens would be successful in finding the bear, which was described as being cinnamon brown and weighing about 250 pounds. Hughan estimated the cub at 45 to 50 pounds.

The two bears ran across the road ahead of the woman, but the sow returned and swiped at the woman’s wrist, causing a one- to two-inch gash. The bear began to leave, then returned and charged the woman who had turned her back. The bear knocked her down, causing several six-inch abrasions which appeared to be claw marks.

In the attack the woman fell down an embankment. The bear followed her and sniffed at her as she lay motionless with her head tucked into her lap. She said she could feel the bear’s breath on her neck. The bear left after about 10 seconds, and the woman called law enforcement. She did not seek medical treatment.

There is no indication that the sow is the mother of the bear cub found abandoned last weekend Ojai and taken to a wildlife care center.

Since 1980, there have been about 15 confirmed bear attacks in California. The most recent was in the fall of 2010 at the Fallen Leaf Lake Campground near Lake Tahoe.

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-- Thomas Curwen

 
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