The woman was attacked around 7 a.m. on Oct. 22 after letting her dog out at a residence adjacent to Enchantment Park in the town of Leavenworth, according to a WDFW report. The woman was treated for non-life-threatening injuries at a hospital in Wenatchee.
Later that morning, officers using a Karelian bear dog located and killed the female bear.
“We are extremely thankful that the victim is receiving medical care from this unfortunate encounter,” Captain Mike Jewell said in a statement. “Public safety is our priority; our officers and staff were quick to mobilize to locate the animal and secure the scene.”
Officers also discovered two bear cubs, estimated to be nine months old, which they captured and transported to a Progressive Animal Welfare Society rehabilitation facility.
Enchantment Park and trails remained closed to the public throughout the day, according to the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook posts.
Local residents commented on social media expressing concern for the injured woman and issuing reminders of the need to be vigilant in areas known to be bear habitats, especially during fall when bears are preparing for hibernation.
Speaking of the area where the attack took place, Tasha Lucas of Peshastin commented, “Bears have always been a problem there.”
Enchantment Park includes walking and bicycling trails and facilities for softball, baseball, and soccer as well as a skate park and playground. The park website notes that wildlife can be viewed in the park but cautions, “Please remember that wild animals can be unpredictable and dangerous.”
This was the 19th instance of human injury caused by a black bear in Washington since 1970. One attack, in 1974, resulted in a fatality. There have been two fatal attacks by black bears in the United States over the past three years and three in Canada.
Bears generally avoid human contact, according to the WDFW, but are “naturally curious.” When encountering a bear, the agency recommends standing tall, waving hands above the head, and speaking in a low voice while avoiding eye contact. The WDFW suggests moving backward away from the animal but not running away, and carrying bear spray during outdoor recreational activities.
Washington has one of the largest populations of black bears in the country, according to Wildlife Informer. About 25,000–30,000 black bears inhabit the state.
By Lawrence Wilson