A “bad luck” 54-year-old hiker who was attacked by a bear in the Angeles National Forest above Sierra Madre may have wandered inadvertently between a mother and her year-old offspring, state wildlife officials said Wednesday.
DNA tests conducted on saliva taken from the hiker’s clothing confirmed the bear that attacked him was female, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Search crews have been unable to find the bear, and wildlife officials have halted efforts to trap or euthanize the animal.
The hiker, Dan Richman, was attacked Oct. 10 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.
He said he came across a bear standing on its hind legs, and as he backed away, he was attacked by a second bear that grabbed him by the wrist and a leg.
“I pretty much right away felt its strength, and then it got me down on the ground,” he said. “I was on my hands and knees and it had its mouth around my neck.”
Richman said he decided to remain quiet and perfectly still, and the bear released him.
“There was a few moments there where I thought, you know, I might not get through this,” he said.
Wildlife officials said an examination of tracks and other evidence at the scene led them to believe the first bear may have been a “yearling,” about 10-12 months old, and the second bear — determined to be a female — may have been its mother.
“If it was a mother bear and her young, and the hiker came between the two through no fault of his own, it was just bad luck for them both,” CDFW environmental scientist Rick Mayfield said. “We are very thankful the individual’s injuries were not life-threatening, and fortunately, he will recover.”
Wildlife officials noted that bear attacks are rare in the state, and there has never been a bear-related fatality in California.
—City News Service
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