New Jersey Woman Hospitalized After Black Bear Attack Outside of Her Home

by TK Sanders

A black bear attack sent a New Jersey woman to the hospital with multiple injuries, including lacerations to her arm and buttock, Wednesday afternoon in Lafayette Township. Police said the 34-year-old woman was walking along a service road to check her mailbox when she encountered at least two, maybe three bears.

State Police Trooper Brandi Slota estimated that the bear that “charged and attacked” the unidentified woman weighed between 150 to 200 pounds. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection spokesperson Larry Hajna said confirmed that the bear, believed to be between one and two years old, was accompanied by other bears. The bears only relented when a neighbor driving by in a vehicle honked the horn to scare them away.

Medical personnel sent the woman to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries and then later released her. New Jersey Fish & Wildlife officials said that if they catch the bear from the attack, they will euthanize the animal.

According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, residents should never approach or attempt to fee bears; and if an encounter does occur, always remain calm and assertive. Bears will likely run away if they sense a threat.

New Jersey’s Sussex County has already reported three bear attacks this year; though Wednesday’s run-in was the first where a bear attacked a human in almost two years. Bears mauled and killed two dogs in two attacks earlier this year, the Daily Mail reported.

More than 3,000 miles west of New Jersey, another bear attack in Alaska ended in tragedy

Earlier in the month, a U.S. Army soldier died from a brown bear attack in Alaska during a training exercise. Staff Sergeant Seth Michael Plant was training alongside a small group of other soldiers in a designated area west of the Anchorage Regional Landfill when the bear attacked, killing the man. He was 30 years old.

Lt. Col. David J. Nelson, 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment commander of the U.S. Army Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska, said Plant was a “dedicated leader.”

“Staff Sgt. Plant was an integral part of our organization. He was a positive and dedicated leader who brought joy and energy to the paratroopers who served with him,” Lt. Col. Nelson said. “He always had a smile on his face, he always went above and beyond what was asked of him, and he served as an inspiration to all who had the privilege to know him. His loss is deeply felt within our organization and we offer our sincere condolences to friends and family.”

After the attack, officials took Plant to the base hospital, where he died from his injuries. Military personnel found two brown bear cubs in a den nearby, leading officials to believe the bear may have been protecting her cubs. Another soldier suffered minor injuries during the attack, according to the Army.

“Our deepest sympathies go out to Staff Sgt. Plant’s family, friends and fellow military members during this very sad time,” Cyndi Wardlow, south central regional supervisor of the Alaskan Fish and Game, said in a release. “From everything we know so far, based on the scene investigation and information from other responding agencies, this appears to be a defensive attack by a female bear protecting her cubs. We are trying to learn everything we can about what happened to increase public safety around wildlife in Alaska.”