Several news reports have emerged recently about bear attacks across the globe, and in particular the US.
On 7 August, a "partially consumed" hiker killed by a grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park was discovered by authorities. In a separate incident on the outskirts of Yosemite National Park, a 67-year-old man was left fighting for his life after he had to fend off a bear from the entrance to his home.
Living in the UK, you're probably unlikely to encounter a bear and thus will have no need to know how to come out alive if confronted by a grizzly, but better safe than sorry.
Here is a guide on how to survive a bear attack.
- Experts say that the first thing you should do it make the bear know that you are a human. Sounds a bit silly, but by talking calmly to it in a low voice and slowly moving your arms, it will help it know that you are not one of its conventional prey.
- Make sure your food is covered. Allowing it to get a whiff of a stronger scent will only encourage it and make you look like a giant ham sandwich.
- Once you've spotted the big bear, look around. Make sure that there you are not positioned between it and its cub – if there is one. If you are, trouble is afoot. The mother will automatically recognise you as a threat but remain calm, move slowly backwards away from the cub.
- Make yourself appear as large as possible, according to the US's National Park Service (NPS), who recommends that you move to higher ground. Although this may seem counter-productive as you don't want to pick a fight, it can make you look more intimidating, which will deter the animal.
If it gets out of hand and the bear decides to attack, there are different ways to react to different bears. For example, if it is a brown or grizzly bear, the NPS recommends playing dead: "Lay ﬂat on your stomach with your hands clasped behind your neck. Spread your legs to make it harder for the bear to turn you over. Remain still until the bear leaves the area. Fighting back usually increases the intensity of such attacks. However, if the attack persists, fight back vigorously. Use whatever you have at hand to hit the bear in the face."
For black bears however, do not play dead. Run to a secure place that the bear cannot access, such as a building, or "if escape is not possible, try to ﬁght back using any object available. Concentrate your kicks and blows on the bear's face and muzzle."