A woman in Washington state survived a bear attack on Saturday after she punched the animal in the nose, an official said.
The woman, who has not been named, was taking her dog out in the town of Leavenworth, in the middle of the state, when she was “charged by an adult female black bear”, the Washington department of fish and wildlife said.
She was taken to hospital after the encounter, WDFW said. Wildlife officials tracked down and killed the bear, and captured two cubs.
Rich Beausoleil, a Washington state wildlife biologist, told local news station KING-TV that the bear had taken the woman by surprise.
“She didn’t see it coming so she could not make herself big, clap her hands, you know, yell at the bear, wave her arms,” Beausoleil said. “Those are the things we usually tell people to do.”
The bear knocked the woman to the ground, Beausoleil said, and a struggle ensued.
“If the bear knocks you down, then yes, your solution is to fight,” he told KING-TV.
“It was just instinct for her. She just turned around and popped it right in the nose.”
The woman sustained non-life threatening injuries. WDFW said that after the attack:
“Officers with the use of a Karelian bear dog located and lethally removed an adult sow black bear near where the incident occurred later that morning. Additionally two cubs, approximately nine months old, were captured, assessed, and transported to a PAWS wildlife rehabilitation facility.”
The agency said there has only been one recorded fatal black bear attack in the state, in 1974. There have been 19 other “human-black bear encounters that resulted in a documented injury” since 1970, WDFW said.