A hiker ran into a couple of bears, and some theorize that he may have interrupted a session of 'bear sex,' which is why he ended up getting attacked and mauled.
Dan Richman was hiking in the Sierra Madre foothills outside of Los Angeles, when he saw a black bear standing on its hind legs about 100 feet ahead of him. Richman turned and began backing away, but was confronted by another bear.
"I turn around and there's another bear, coming up towards me," he said. "At that point, I was trapped. I yelled at the top of my lungs, to attempt to scare it away. And it seemed to work. It started to run up the mountain, but it didn't go very far. It was up about five or six feet, and I thought, 'Okay, maybe this is my chance to run right past him.'"
Richman's running likely triggered an attack response in the bear. The bear came after Richman and took him to the ground and began to maul him. Once he realized that he was going to be mauled by the bear, Richman tried to play dead.
"He first grabbed my wrist," Richman said. "He actually put his mouth around the back of my neck. And I just stayed really, really still."
"Once I knew that he was attacking me, I did not fight back, I just stayed still," he said. "I was down on my hands and knees, and I was perfectly still. Because it was the only chance that I had."
Eventually the bear let up and began to wander off. Richman regained his feet once he felt that the bear was far enough away, and he began walking and then running back down the trail. He did not realize the extent of his injuries until he was safely back at the trail head.
A spokesperson indicated that a state game warden believes the bears "may have been a mating pair that was interrupted." But there's really no way to know that for sure, as Richman did not report seeing the animals engaged in 'bear sex'.
Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Andrew Hughan indicated that, "The hiker probably just surprised the bears and they reacted the way an animal with teeth and claws does, attack."
As for the 'bear sex' part of it, Hughan said, "It's a funny side note is all it is."
"At the end of the day it was just bad luck for the bear and the hiker," he said. "Wrong place, wrong time."
The Los Angeles Times reported that Richman "was hospitalized with puncture wounds, deep scratches and bruises".
"I'm a little sore in some parts, but I'm surviving," Richman said. "If the bite had been a millimeter more, it would have severed my tendon. But I'm just really fortunate."
An estimated 25,000 to 30,000 black bears call Central and Northern California home.
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