TRAVERSE CITY (WWJ/AP) – A state official says a black bear attacked and injured a 12-year-old girl in northern Michigan.
Ed Golder of the Department of Natural Resources says the girl was running on a privately owned trail in Wexford County around 9 p.m. Thursday when she saw the bear. The girl picked up speed and the bear attacked.
The girl was able to get up and run, but the animal attacked a second time. A neighbor heard the girl’s cries for help and scared the bear away.
Golder says the girl was flown by helicopter to Munson Medical Center in Traverse City, where she underwent surgery.
She suffered deep lacerations tp her thigh, but was reported to be in stable condition Friday.
DNR personnel are searching for the bear and setting traps in the area of the attack. When found the bear will be euthanized and tested for disease.
Golder says it’s rare for bears to attack humans; and, according to the DNR, black bears are generally fearful of humans and flee if they sense you.
Bear experts say that in the rare circumstance that you encounter a bear that does not turn and leave, first try to scare it off by yelling while leaving a clear, unobstructed escape route for the bear. If the bear stands its ground, makes threatening sounds, take slow steps backward while continuing to talk to the bear in a stern tone. In the rare event of an attack, the DNR says you should fight back with a backpack, stick or your bare hands.
The DNR also recommends campers and hikers carry pepper spray, which has been shown to be effective in fending off bear attacks.
Michigan has an estimated black bear population of 8,000 to 10,000 bears, with 90 percent of the population in the Upper Peninsula.
For more from the DNR bear behavior, click here.
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