Bear Attacks Picnicking Couple in NC

Authorities are on the hunt for the animal
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2021 3:02 AM CDT
Bear Attacks Picnicking Couple in NC
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / Lynn_Bystrom)

(Newser) – A couple picnicking with their dog in Asheville, NC, were attacked by a black bear last week. They were on a Blue Ridge Parkway hillside near the Folk Art Center when their unleashed dog started barking and ran toward the young bear, which became defensive and attacked, WXII reports. There were no cubs involved in the incident. The couple drove themselves to a nearby hospital, where they were treated and released. The dog was unharmed.

Following the attack, which parkway officials called "bold and aggressive," all trails in the area were temporarily closed and outdoor food prohibited, WDBJ reports. The fall is a critical time for bears to feed before they hibernate in the winter. "Park visitors are reminded to take necessary precautions and be BearWise while in bear country, including properly following food storage regulations, keeping pets leashed and remaining at a safe viewing distance from bears," officials reminded the public.

"If attacked by a black bear, rangers strongly recommend fighting back with any object available and remember that bears may view you and your pets as prey. Though rare, attacks on humans do occur, and can cause injuries or death." Officials are searching for the bear, and if DNA analysis confirms it is captured, it will be humanely euthanized, the Citizen Times reports. In response to outcry on social media over that news, officials said the attack had been "uncharacteristically aggressive," and that the bear continued to attack the car after the couple and dog got inside, in a "predatory" fashion. (Read more black bear stories.)

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