Example of a Black Bear. Photo by Diginatur (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Example of a Black Bear. Photo by Diginatur (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
A hiker was attacked and wounded by a bear as another bear watched in a rare confrontation in the rugged mountains north of Sierra Madre Monday.

The hiker, a man in his early 50s, was attacked about noon near the Georgia’s Cabin area in Angeles National Forest, around two miles north of Bailey Canyon Wilderness Park, which is in the 400 block of West Carter Avenue, authorities said.

The unidentified victim — who suffered several cuts and scratches and possible puncture wounds that were not life threatening– was able to walk out on his own and was taken to Methodist Hospital in Arcadia for treatment, Andrew Hughan of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said.

The park and the Mount Wilson trail were closed following the attack.

“There is no immediate threat to the Sierra Madre community as this is well into the mountain area,” according to police.

The man was hiking alone when he encountered a bear that was taller than the hiker when it stood on its hind legs, leading officials to believe it was full grown, Hughan said.

“A second bear attacked him, knocking him down …,” Hughan said.

Game wardens took swabs of the attack area and the victim’s shorts and will attempt to capture the bear, which will be put down if it can be positively identified, Hughan said.

Sierra Madre Police Chief Larry Giannone said such attacks are rare, and it may be the first to occur in that area.

“We have hundreds of hikers that come up during the week, on the weekends up here,” he said. “They have seen bears on the trail, they’ve been non-aggressive, they’ve been off to the side. It’s my understanding this bear was actually on the trail itself — not unusual but kind of unusual for the hikers.”

—City News Service

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