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Bear Attack at Philmont?

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Does anybody know any more about this reported incident from a New Mexico newspaper? One wonders what these boys were doing. Outright attacks by bears are highly unusual.


Dozens Of Bears Destroyed In 2001 Invasion


The bear invasion of 2001 has been one of this summer's big stories. But photos and video of bears wandering through backyards is only part of the story.


In fact the New Mexico Game and Fish department says officers and landowners have destroyed 64 bears this year.


Most of them in northern New Mexico after the bears killed livestock.


Other animals were put down after repeatedly wandering into populated areas.


Most of the time the bears do not harm humans. But last weekend a 93-year old woman in Mora County died from a bear attack and a couple boy scouts were injured in attacks at the Philmont Boys Scout Ranch this summer near Raton.




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The following article confirms the bear attack report I posted earlier and provides at least a partial explanation for the attack.




Hungry Bears Attacking Humans in New Mexico

By David Bennett


SANTA FE, N.M. (Reuters) - A series of attacks on humans by hungry bears has left New Mexicans as wary of their beloved mountains as some Floridians are of their beaches following recent shark attacks.


Residents of the southwestern state are taking new precautions after a black bear broke into a home Aug. 18 in the mountain village of Cleveland, 50 miles northeast of Santa Fe, and killed 93-year-old great-grandmother Adelia Maestas Trujillo.


The 250-pound male bear crashed through her kitchen window, most likely in search of food, then attacked the woman. She lived alone, and her mangled body was found by her son who lived nearby. The bear was tracked down and shot.


It was the first deadly bear attack in New Mexico in recent memory and the product of a desperate food shortage in the animals' natural range, officials said.


``It's terrible what happened, but the bears are starving,'' said Juanita Martinez, a neighbor of the elderly victim. ''There's no food for the bears.''


Experts said the bears, who are not usually aggressive, are coming down from the isolated mountains where they live because they have little to eat.


Freezing temperatures and a heavy snow in northern New Mexico on May 5 killed much of this season's fruits and berries, staples of the bears' diets.


Sparse rainfall in recent years also has limited the growth of juniper berries and acorns, which are eaten by the estimated 5,000 to 6,000 black bears living in New Mexico, said Scott Brown, a spokesman for the New Mexico Game and Fish Department.


The situation is not expected to change until the bears go into hibernation in January. Before that, the likelihood of more bear attacks is high because the animals will go on eating binges, consuming nearly 20,000 calories a day, as they prepare for their winter rest.


Another incident occurred on Tuesday when a Taos, New Mexico, man shot a bear that had entered a home.


Earlier this summer, near Ruidoso in southern New Mexico, a black bear chased three Texas boys and bit one on the ankle. And in June at Philmont Scout Ranch near Cimarron, a bear injured two Boy Scouts during a brief encounter.


Joanna Lackey, division chief for the game department, said game officers have shot 43 black bears since late spring. Officers killed five bears on Monday night, Lackey said, and as many as 100 calls a day about intrusive bears are coming into her office.


``I have never seen anything like this in my 25 years here,'' she said.


Baudy Martinez, who with his wife Juanita owns B'Jay's Sandwich Shop in Mora, a few miles south of Cleveland, said long-time residents of the area are accustomed to seeing bears and know they must be respected and protected. They want bears and humans to live in harmony.


``This is the path the bears have been taking for thousands of years,'' Martinez said. ``It's their natural habitat. ... The bears are precious. We have to preserve our wildlife.''


While New Mexicans struggle with their bear problem, officials in Florida are coping with a different kind of conflict between animals and humans.


In July, 8-year-old Jessie Arbogast's arm was ripped off by a bull shark in northwest Florida. The Mississippi boy's uncle wrestled the shark to shore and retrieved the arm, which was reattached by surgeons.


On Aug. 4, Wall Street banker Krishna Thompson was bitten as he swam off Freeport in the Bahamas. Surgeons amputated his badly mangled left leg.


Over the weekend, officials in New Smyrna Beach, just south of Daytona Beach, closed a one-mile stretch of beach close to where sharks had bitten eight people recently.


The number of shark attacks in the United States and the state of Florida is below last year's total so far. Worldwide, there has been only one fatal shark attack reported.



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