A 53-year-old hiker has been hospitalized Monday after he encountered two bears and was attacked by one of them near Sierra Madre, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The man was hiking alone around 10:45 a.m. in Bailey Canyon Wilderness Park when he encountered a bear on the trail, who then stood up on its hind legs, said Andrew Hughan of the Department of Fish and Wildife.
A few seconds later, a second bear attacked the hiker.
“That’s what makes this one really unusual,” Hughan said.
The hiker was knocked down and sustained several non-life threatening cuts and possibly some puncture wounds, Hughan added. The victim was able to walk out on his own and call 9-1-1.
"Black bears will typically do this — they’ll just do a quick attack and run away. They’re more afraid of you than you are of them,” he said.
Other bear attacks have happened in the same general area, Hughan said. There are usually three or four attacks a year.
The department obtained swabs of the bears' genetic material from the man's body and clothing. As part of their policy, if the offending animals are found and identified, they will be put down.
"You can’t have an animal attacking people. You just can’t have it. It’s a public safety issue at this point. There’s some solid science to support that if an animal attacks a human once, it’ll do it again," Hughan said.
This story has been updated.