A woman in Old Forge, New York experienced every jogger’s worst nightmare when she was chased by an agitated bear. The woman escaped her four-legged pursuer by climbing a nearby tree.
Rachel Smith, 19, decided to go for a 5-mile run around 7:30 p.m. When she didn’t come home, her worried parents called the police at 10 p.m. A search party gathered to search local trails, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation.
Around 100 volunteers from local fire departments, 24 State police officers, six local police officers, and a dozen rangers searched for Smith. They didn’t find her until around 10:30 a.m. the next morning. Smith had spent the night in the tree.
Rachel Smith encountered a mother bear and her two cubs.
According to Smith, she had been running on Big Otter Trail in the HaDaRonDah Wilderness Area. After encountering two bear cubs, Smith ran from the mother through the woods until she climbed the tree. The bears left once night fell, but Smith stayed in the tree until daylight. Smith didn’t bring her cellphone, and her GPS device was dead, according to Rome Sentinel. In the morning, Smith walked back to Old Forge where the search party discovered her shaken but unharmed.
Bears typically avoid humans for the most part, according to wildlife experts. But attacks do happen. Recently, a black bear attacked a New Jersey man in his garage. Authorities tracked down and euthanized the bear. In another incident, a Canadian woman was attacked and killed while on the phone with her father. The attack happened at the family’s remote cabin.
Mothers can also be fiercely protective of their cubs and can become aggressive if someone wanders too close. Smith is lucky to walk away unharmed. Bears are actually capable climbers. They’ve been known to climb trees themselves to escape hunting dogs. The incident is called a “treed bear.”
[Source: Albany Times Union]