Two Seriously Injured in ‘Rare Predatory’ Black Bear Attack After Trying to Run Away

by Megan Molseed
(Getty Images/JenDeVos

A Canadian family is facing tragedy after a black bear lunged at the group in a rare “predatory attack” officials report. The attack took place on a hiking trail in British Colombia earlier this month.

Two women face serious, life-altering injuries as a result of the attack. A teenage boy with the group also suffered injuries in the tragic attack.

Leosette [Cheng] Canoy, Canoy’s niece, a friend Analyn Shurtliff Bartolome, and Bartolome’s teenage son, came upon the bear while on a sunset hike along Dawson Creek, British Colombia. As they rounded a corner, the group came face to face with a male black bear. Canoy and Bartolome were critically injured in the attack.

Officials responding to the attack note that the group “turned to run” as they came upon the wild animal. The bear then chased after the hikers. One of the women was directly attacked by the animal. The other woman and the teenage boy were injured trying to help.

Officials Note The Bear Was Acting Alone When Hunting Down The Hikers

After the attack, wildlife officials were quick to confirm that the animal was acting alone. They also note that the bear was focused on hunting…and killing…the hikers. Canoy’s husband, Gary Hansen spoke about the attack saying that his wife is his “gift from God.”

“It’s horrific to see my wife like that,” he says. “The bear chewed her up bad.”

The Attack Was “Predatory In Nature”

In a recent Facebook post, the local conservation officers note that “Conservation Officers examined the attack site – which included taking photographs, measurements and collecting evidence.”

The officials add that they interviewed the victims as well as witnesses during the investigation. Eventually, it was determined that the attack was “predatory in nature.”

According to Tom S. Smith, a professor of wildlife sciences at Brigham Young University, these attacks are extremely rare. However, some situations can prompt a black bear to charge and attack.

“Bears at this time of year are in their hyperphagic phase, that is, they are attempting to put on as much fat as possible for the long winter’s sleep,” Smith explains.

“While the bear may have been old, diseased, or under-nourished, we don’t have to invoke some pathological reason for an attack,” he adds.

“Sometimes bears simply attempt to take humans,” Smith continues in the statement. “As they would any prey, when they ‘think’ they can. Such appears to be the case here.”

A recent report highlighted on ABC, notes how uncommon these instances are, however. The report notes that about one black bear in a million will attack a human in a predatory manner such as this one.

Experts advise anyone who comes upon a bear in the wild resist the urge to run and slowly back away, instead. Talking to the animal in a quiet monotone voice is also important. And never turn your back on the animal.