On September 1, 2019, A 62-year-old woman was attacked and killed by a black bear—a rare event. The attack occurred on Red Pine Island on Rainy Lake in Ontario, Canada.
Black bears don’t instill fear like their larger, more aggressive, grizzly cousins. But while they may not be nearly as frightening as grizzlies, black bears do have the capability to inflict serious bodily harm.While attacks from black bears do occur from time to time, they’re rarely fatal. Black bears have killed 63 people since 1900, according to a study in The Journal of Wildlife Management. Although a staggering figure, the North American Bear Center considers grizzly bears 20 times more dangerous than black bears.
The woman, identified as Catherine Sweatt-Mueller, went outside to investigate after her dogs began barking frantically, according to CNN. When one of the dogs returned bloody and wounded but Sweatt-Mueller did not return, her parents called the authorities, concerned that their daughter had been attacked by a bear. This happened just after 6:30 p.m., according to Ontario Provincial Police Constable Jim Davis.
Responding officers took almost an hour to get to Sweatt-Mueller. When officers finally arrived on the scene, the woman was already deceased.
The attack appears to have been predatory, according to Davis: “The bear was standing over the remains of the victim.” Officers killed the bear and felt threatened by two other bears in the area as well.
Red Pine is an isolated Island on the border of Canada and the United States. Sweatt-Mueller and her family were at their cabin. Others on the island were informed of the attack, though there was no further concern for public safety.
Such incidents serve as reminders of the importance of preparation: Know the animals in the area you live or visit. Remain vigilant and aware. Carry bear spray or a sidearm, and know how to use it.
Feature image via Wiki Commons.