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No hard feelings: victim of B.C. attack grateful bear will be left alone

Conservation Officer Service will take no further action as a result of jogger’s surprise encounter
The BC Conservation Officer Service was among emergency service personnel who responded to an incident where a woman out jogging was attacked by a black bear on private property near 50th Avenue SW in Salmon Arm on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023. (Twitter/BC Conservation Officer Service)

A Salmon Arm woman injured by a black bear while out jogging has no hard feelings towards her attacker.

The woman was very lucky to have received only minor injuries in what was a surprise encounter for both her and the bear, said Conservation Officer Mike Richardson about the Nov. 21 incident that occurred around 11 a.m. on a private property near 50th Avenue SW.

“Unfortunately, this woman was running, she had her headphones on so she wasn’t really paying attention and didn’t obviously see the bear, and the bear didn’t see her until the last minute and, at that close proximity, the bear just kind of lashed out,” said Richardson, explaining the startled bear was reacting defensively when it pushed the woman down from her chest area and proceeded to bite her on the head. Richardson said the bear then realized what it was doing, released the woman and ran off.

The woman was taken to hospital after the attack and released the same day. Richardson said she was glad the Conservation Officer Service has no plans to take action against the bear.

“Our investigation is leading us to believe this was a one-time thing, so we’re not taking any further action on this bear – so it will not be pursued and destroyed,” said Richardson. “We feel the threat to the public is very low because of where it is – it’s on a rural private property. We did post bear aware signs in the area just in case anybody is back there, and other neighbours close by were also canvassed.

“When we did talk to her, she did state she was glad that we were not taking any action on the bear. She felt that it was just a surprise encounter… so she means no harm to the bear and she was very happy that we were not going to destroy it.”

Richardson called the incident a rare occurrence, noting black bears tend to leave an area when they hear humans nearby. This is why he and the Conservation Officer Service recommend making noise when you’re out enjoying the woods/backcountry.

“Always make noise because most times bears, they hear us and they don’t want anything to do with us so they will disappear…,” said Richardson. “It’s good to travel in groups as well because more people make more noise. And I also recommend to people to carry bear spray as well, just in case they might need it because it works well on bears.”

Read more: Salmon Arm woman attacked by bear while on a run

Read more: Black bear comes within feet of B.C. child before getting scared off

Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor, Salmon Arm Observer
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