Jon-Kyle Mohr
Credit: Jon-Kyle Mohr/Instagram

Ultrarunner on 50-Mile Run Through Yosemite Attacked by Black Bear

Jon-Kyle Mohr was finishing the last mile of 50 in Yosemite when he was attacked by a bear -- as if ultrarunning wasn't hard enough.

Imagine finishing your last mile of 50 through the Sierra Nevada mountains only to be attacked by a bear — as if ultrarunning wasn't hard enough. That's what happened to ultrarunner Jon-Kyle Mohr in Yosemite recently.

In Wednesday's article, Mohr told the LA Times how he was finishing a run from his house in June Lake to the natural amphitheater of Yosemite Valley when all of a sudden he saw a huge black figure charging toward him. An instant later, he felt "some sharpness" on his shoulder and then a shove to the ground. As people off in a distance turned their headlamps in Mohr's direction, he heard people shout "bear."

While on the ground, Mohr said he saw a large black bear right in front of him and a bag of garbage on the ground. He figured when they collided, he had knocked the bag out of the bear's mouth. But before he could fully process the situation, the bear started charging. So Mohr started yelling and slapping his running poles against the ground, and others from a nearby campground joined him in making noise.

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Fortunately, it worked. The noise scared the bear away and Mohr only suffered a few scratches.

Bear attacks at Yosemite

This year, Yosemite has recorded 10 bear incidents so far, which is down 9% from this time last year (when they saw 38 total). The Park Service defines a "bear incident" as when a bear causes a "monetary loss to a person," such as property damage or stealing food, or injury.

According to the National Park Service's website, bears are one of the most sought-after animals to see in Yosemite National Park. It's home to approximately 300 to 500 black bears. With that, the Park Service advised visitors to exercise caution and give the animals space.

What to do if you see a black bear

Wildlife experts with Yosemite say if a black bear approaches you or gets too close, you're supposed to act immediately and try to scare it away. You do that by yelling aggressively and making as much noise as possible until the bear leaves.

If the bear is after your food, experts suggest packing up your food and leaving the area. They say do not throw food at the bear or abandon the food. The reason is the bear will eat the food and then try to get more food from humans, which will likely result in the animal's death.

It's also worth mentioning that how you respond to a black bear is different than you would to a brown bear. The reason is they're different species and therefore, have different physical characteristics and behaviors. Brown bears, or grizzly bears, tend to be much bigger than black bears.