Asheville, NC – A couple treated after being injured at Mission Hospital black bear attacked On the Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville on September 29, trails near the popular spot were forced to close and possible euthanasia of bears, a Parkway spokesman said.
Parkway spokeswoman Lisa Brandon said the men and women were picnicking on a grassy hillside when they heard their dog barking that a bear was nearby.
The dog, which was not on the leash, barked loudly and ran towards the bear.
According to a statement, “Likely provoked by the dog, the bear acted defensively toward the dog and the couple. Over the next several minutes, there were repeated attacks by the bears while the couple headed for their vehicle with their dog. Withdrew to safety.” by park service.
While the sex of the bear has yet to be determined, Brandon said it was described as young, but not one year old, weighing about 200 pounds. No concerned cub was reported at the time of the incident.
The parkway is a sanctuary for bears, as it provides their natural, forested habitat, and hunting is prohibited. Dogs must be on 6-foot leashes on parkway land. Brandon said owners who don’t leash their dogs face a potential fine of $50.
“There is no charge at this time,” she said.
Brandon said the couple suffered wounds and scratches in the clash with the bear, but the dog was not harmed.
Fall is one of the busiest times on the parkway for humans as millions of people travel through the scenic trail that runs directly through Asheville. fall foliage. The parkway is the most-visited unit of the National Park Service, with 14.1 million visitors in 2020.
It is also an important feeding period for bears before entering winter hibernation. Visitors must be careful and obey according to bear Protocols in bear country, including properly following food storage regulations, keeping pets on leashes and staying at a safe viewing distance from bears.
If attacked by a black bear, rangers strongly recommend fighting back with any available item and remember that bears may see you and your pet as prey. Although rare, attacks do occur on humans, and can cause injury or death.
a Man found dead in Great Smoky Mountains Park According to an autopsy report obtained by the Citizen Times on August 18, it was most likely killed in 2020 by a black bear that was seen cleaning its remains.
Brandon said park rangers and wildlife biologists along with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission are exploring the area in an effort to capture the bears.
If the bear is captured and positively identified, Brandon said, officials will “humanely euthanize,” according to Bear Park and State Wildlife Commission protocol, a decision that is “never taken lightly.” Is.”
In response to hundreds of public comments posted on social media about why the bear would be killed, Parkway’s Office of Public Affairs included the following: Facebook:
“When confronted by a dog on or off a leash, it is not unusual for a bear to bluff, poke its jaw, huff, pat its legs, etc. However, this attack was unusual in that the bear was involuntarily aggressive and the dog was After being removed the involved human subjects continued to chase and attack the couple’s vehicle as they were all inside it and the threat (the couple and their dog) was effectively removed. Defensive bear behavior is not and indicates a more violent response. It presents an intolerable level of risk in a high-use, public area.”
Follow Karen Chavez on Twitter: @KarenChavezACT