bear attacks trail runner

An incident in the Canadian Rockies opens once again the debate on whether to “play dead” when being attacked by a bear.

A trail runner attacked and bitten up to eight times by a black bear near Lake Louise serves as a chilling reminder of the dangers the public face at this time of year when sharing space with wildlife in the mountain parks. …

D’hamers, a Belgian who has been living and working in the Lake Louise area for more than a year, was no stranger to the 10-kilometre Great Divide Trail, regularly running on the decommissioned stretch of road.

She was running alone on the closed stretch of Highway 1A between Lake Louise Drive and the Trans-Canada Highway when she came face-to-face with the animal around 6 p.m.

The 23-year-old initially began backing up, but when the bear followed her for about 100 metres, she decided instead to lay face down on the ground, according to Morrison.

The attack is unusual, he said, with the last bear mauling in the Lake Louise area taking place in 1995.

The plan to play dead backfired as the bear continued to approach her, sniffing and licking the back of her legs and eventually biting her multiple times on her upper legs and back.

“The young lady showed considerable wherewithal in that she realized her strategy wasn’t working early in the game,” Morrison said. “Playing dead is not recommended in most situations.”

D’hamers jumped back to her feet, yelling aggressively at the bear and continuing to back away. After nearly 30 minutes of D’hamers reversing, yelling and waving her arms, the bear finally retreated. D’hamers continued the final few kilometres back to the main road, where she flagged down a Parks Canada warden. …

Calgary Herald

(via A Trail Runner’s Blog)

larger original – flickr – jvh33

0 Replies to “bear attacks trail runner”

  1. I’ve always heard play dead when it’s a grizzly and fight back against black bears. I guess when you’re actually in that situation it might be easy to forget.

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