McMILLAN TOWNSHIP (AP) – A 64-year-old woman survived an attack Monday by a captive, nearly 400-pound black bear while feeding two of the animals on private property in Michigan’s remote western Upper Peninsula, state law enforcement officials said.
Authorities said the woman from Ewen was attacked by the 19-year-old bear named Daisy while feeding the bears in a large, fenced-in area in Ontonagon County’s McMillan Township. Police say the woman, who was alone and helping another woman who owned the bears, drove a short distance home and called 911.
She was taken to an Ironwood hospital and airlifted to Aspirus Wausau Hospital in Wisconsin. Police say she had back, neck and arm injuries, including bites and cuts from claws but is expected to be released Wednesday.
The bear escaped and was killed by a state trooper, authorities said. The woman’s name was not released.
“It’s an unfortunate accident,” said Sgt. Steven Burton of the Department of Natural Resources’ law enforcement division, adding the DNR-licensed facility was “very clean and well-run.”
Burton said the area contains three pens, and people can lock bears out while feeding the animals. The woman didn’t see Daisy and thought the pen she was entering was clear.
“That’s when Daisy heard her, most likely felt threatened and attacked her,” Burton said.
The bears, much larger than average wild bears in Michigan, came from a wildlife center in Colorado and lived in a fenced-in area built exclusively for them, he said. The animals were kept as pets and not on public display.
Daisy’s head will be tested for rabies, but Burton said it’s not suspected. The second bear, a 17-year-old 350-pounder, was not part of the attack and remains at the property.
Burton said black bears can be dangerous and aggressive but usually do not attack people. He said they are “more of a nuisance than anything.”
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