American black bear
A black bear like this one attacked a woman running a marathon in the Valles Caldera National Preserve in New Mexico. on 19 June, 2016. Wikicommons: Diginatur

A woman running a marathon in New Mexico was attacked by a mother bear who pounced, while her cub scrambled up a tree on Sunday 19 June. The woman suffered several bites to her head, neck and upper body but the injuries were not life-threatening, said local officials. She was attacked in Valles Caldera National Preserve in the northern part of the state near the Los Alamos national nuclear laboratory.

Other runners immediately stopped to help the woman before an emergency crew arrived and airlifted the unnamed woman to an Albuquerque hospital, Associated Press reports.

Police and staffers from the National Park Service and the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish were attempting to locate the black bear to euthanize it and test it for rabies. Officials warned residents to stay away from the area.

A black bear was shot dead in eastern New Mexico the previous week because it was spotted rummaging through trash in backyards. In Los Angeles a black bear recently led officials on a chase before it was captured and relocated.

New Mexico's northern neighbour, Colorado, has already this year euthanised 14 black bears that have become too comfortable around humans. The state typically kills a total of 100 a year, but also relocates a further 100 bears.

Japan has recently had a spate of deadly black bear attacks, and the animals ominously prowled for food among the charred detritus of the Fort McMurray wildfire in Alberta, Canada, in May 2016.

Game officials again issued guidelines to the public regarding what to do in the event of a bear encounter. In such a situation an individual should not run but should back slowly away and not make eye contact. The bear should be given plenty of room to escape.

According to the advice given by the officials, anyone attacked should fight with anything at hand, such as rocks, sticks and even bare hands. They should also focus any defence towards the bear's nose and eyes.