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Black Bear Attack - Kern County

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Black Bear Attack - Kern County

Postby losthillsguy » Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:06 am

Calif. woman mauled by bear recovers after surgery

By ROBERT JABLON – 1 day ago

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A woman mauled by a bear in rural Kern County was recovering Wednesday in a Los Angeles hospital as game wardens sought to trap and kill the animal.

Allena Hansen, 56, was resting comfortably after undergoing extensive surgery to repair injuries suffered in Tuesday's attack, Roxanne Moster, a spokeswoman for the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, said in a statement.

Neighbor August Dunning said Hansen had 10 hours of surgery Tuesday on head and face cuts.

Hansen was "lucid, active and probably pretty sore," said Dunning, who called her hospital room Tuesday night and spoke to her son. Dunning said he could hear his friend in the background.

"She's fine. She's talking," he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Wednesday.

Wildlife trackers using dogs hunted the bear Wednesday. One tracking hound was slightly injured after midnight in what might have been an attack by the animal, Kevin Brennan, a wildlife biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game, said at a news conference in Ontario.

The attack took place in the Piute area, near the little community of Caliente, on scrubland south of Sequoia National Forest about 85 miles north of Los Angles.

The bear was believed to be still in the area because they are "creatures of habit," Brennan said.

"Right now, there's a trap set. And we're just waiting," Brennan said. "There's a good chance he'll come back."

Capturing the animal could take anywhere from hours to a week, he speculated.

Clothing from the woman was taken for forensic testing to determine if there is fur or other DNA samples from the bear. Brennan said any bear caught in the trap will be killed and its DNA tested to determine if it was the attacker.

Hansen, who has a ranch in the tiny rural community of Twin Oaks, near Caliente, was walking in heavy underbrush on her property Tuesday morning with her dogs when she was attacked, Dunning said.

Her English mastiff may have tried to defend her, Dunning speculated, because it suffered some scratches. An Irish wolfhound was unhurt.

"She had to rely on her dogs and her wits," Dunning said. "She's one tough woman."

Dunning said the attack took place very close to a recent wildfire and speculated that the vast burn area may have pushed the bear into new territory.

"We just had 30,000 acres burn out here and those animals are looking for habitat," he said.

The bear may have attacked to defend that new territory, he said.

Brennan, the wildlife biologist, said there are about 30,000 California black bears and they are not uncommon in the region of the attack, especially at this time of year when young males are moving about.

State game wardens had not had a chance to interview Hansen about the attack and so it was unclear what provoked it, Brennan said.

However, "dogs have been known to agitate bears," he said.

Brennan advised people never to approach a bear but not to give up if attacked. People have been known to drive off bears, he said.

"If attacked, fight back," he said.

The attack was the 13th reported in California since 1980. Records indicate that the last attack in Kern County took place in August 1988 in the Piute Mountains when a female with two cubs attacked and injured a camping couple.

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Re: Black Bear Attack - Kern County

Postby SSSdave » Fri Jul 25, 2008 12:42 pm

I've been following this story the last few days waiting for someone to interview her. Like many, I'm interested in hearing what provoked the attack. Young male black bears from remote areas that have never come into contact with humans are not to be taken lightly. Those that think all black bears will act the same as campground habituated scared ones would be making a stupid mistake. My guess is that bear made a beeline at barking dogs. Of course black bears regularly come across coyotes and know they are to be run off.

Decades ago late one morning, one of my brother's fishing on a shore saw a bear as it swam across a wide section of Laural Lake in Yosemite (above Hetch Hetchy). The previous night a bear had visited our camp but my brothers had been too sleepy in the blackness to get excited. Way back then, bad bears were ear tagged and often removed to the remote Lake Eleanor area. Many of those bears followed Frog Creek right up to Beehive Meadows and Laural Lake that sometimes had so many bears about at all times of day that it was hillarious. Well except at night! I had warned my bros about the bears of the area, that didn't make much of an impression on any of them. All this happened while I was off fetching a dropped water bottle a mile distant. So the bear reached the shore then went for our group of 6's counter balance hung food and almost managed to get the bags. The well hung bags were below a large tree branch. Actually another brother upon hearing the commotion down at the lake edge, had just pushed the bags up in the air with our dedicated big stick after getting out some snacks. The bear climbed a nearby younger thin diameter pine and began swaying back and forth, back and forth stetching out to get close enough to grab the bags. Bear gave up and then raised hell on the next camp 100 yards up the shore. Bear ate their food and they packed up and left.

Then sometime later the same bear continued around the lake and saw a big dog someone illegally had brought in on the trail. As soon as the bear saw that dog it made a beeline towards it, chasing it out into the lake where they were both swimming around. A woman was screaming all the time that the bear was going to kill their pooch. Bear went back to land and over to their camp, getting their food. Right after that, those people packed up and left. When I got back to camp with my bottle, my brothers were immensely excited and eager to pack up towards our next destination Vernon Lake. I could only laugh at how their attitudes had changed.
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