Good news from Andrew Hughan, Fish & Game agency spokesman
Sent: Sun, Oct 21, 2012 4:28 pm
Subject: Re: Ojai bear
DFG has found no further bear activity in Ojai, ceasing operations to find and trap the bear
See previous updates from Department of Fish & Game at end of article and in Comments
This was an an unfortunate incident not a tragedy. A trauma for all involved…hiker, bear and cub. This bear was in her own area, not the city or someone’s backyard. She didn’t kill anyone, just gave warning. Woman didn’t even seek medical attention. Why HUNT this bear and cub down!?! Why possibly traumatize her more and why oh why euthanize her and leave her cub motherless. It’s just nature…and all hikers should know that and be wary of wildlife, some of which is dangerous. –Teri Roth
If that momma bear was truly vicious, both the dogs and the woman would be dead. Instead she was given a push and a smack–a compassionate warning from a bear’s point of view. It was an act of mercy–and that mercy should be respected and returned by the humans. –Sherri Skanes
From another Ojai resident: ” I just heard on KFI news that when the woman saw the bear, she played dead, curling up on the ground, the bear took a swipe at her – her dogs ran away….I’m not saying this is the true story, just adding a new layer….”
It’s almost impossible to know exactly what happened without speaking directly to the person involved. One news story says: “She said she was pushed down an embankment and followed by the bear. At the bottom, the woman curled into a ball and remained still. The bear sniffed her and then “moved off into the forest,” Hughan said in an emailed statement.”
So far the news stories are woefully inadequate (copy below). Here is link to one of the stories on this incident, a copy of my Letter to Fish & Game (emailed Friday night), and a copy of a more recent story saying bear will be killed.
Update, California Dept. of Fish & Game link: http://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/ojai-woman-sustains-minor-injuries-from-bear-attack/
Andrew Hughan, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8944
Dear Andrew Hughan,
Please let us know if the news story below stating that DFG plans to kill the Ojai bear, is accurate. If so, please reconsider the decision to kill this mother bear for defending her cub.
We need a full investigation of what triggered this “attack.” It was three years ago, October, 2009, that Fish & Game killed the young Ojai bear seen drinking out of a fountain. We are in a drought. Sources of water have dried up.
None of the news stories explain what the woman’s 3 dogs were doing or exactly what happened. The bear walked away. The woman did not even seek medical treatment. If this bear was dangerous she could have killed the woman.
The news report states the woman does not wish to be identified. Have you questioned her to find out how her dogs responded?
Please give us as much information on this incident as possible.
former mayor, City of Ojai
Ojai Wildlife League
Cell: (805) 603-8635
963 Oso Road
Ojai, CA 93023
Bear that attacked woman will be killed, officials say
October 19, 2012 | 7:42 pm
Game wardens with the California Department of Fish and Game will attempt to capture the bear that attacked a 50-year-old woman Friday morning in Ojai.
If they are successful, the bear will be euthanized.
“Public safety is our No. 1 priority,” said agency spokesman Andrew Hughan. “There is scientific evidence that when an animal attacks a person, there is a chance they will do it again.”
The attack occurred about 7 a.m. in an area adjacent to the Los Padres National Forest. The woman, who has asked to remain anonymous, was walking her three dogs when she surprised a black bear and a cub.
According to Hughan, it is the policy of the Department of Fish and Game to try to capture and euthanize a wild animal that has made an unprovoked attack on a human.
Hughan was unwilling to speculate whether game wardens would be successful in finding the bear, which was described as being cinnamon brown and weighing about 250 pounds. Hughan estimated the cub at 45 to 50 pounds.
The two bears ran across the road ahead of the woman, but the sow returned and swiped at the woman’s wrist, causing a one- to two-inch gash. The bear began to leave, then returned and charged the woman who had turned her back. The bear knocked her down, causing several six-inch abrasions which appeared to be claw marks.
In the attack the woman fell down an embankment. The bear followed her and sniffed at her as she lay motionless with her head tucked into her lap. She said she could feel the bear’s breath on her neck. The bear left after about 10 seconds, and the woman called law enforcement. She did not seek medical treatment.
There is no indication that the sow is the mother of the bear cub found abandoned last weekend Ojai and taken to a wildlife care center.
Since 1980, there have been about 15 confirmed bear attacks in California. The most recent was in the fall of 2010 at the Fallen Leaf Lake Campground near Lake Tahoe.
COPY OF SOME OF THE COMMENTS ON FACEBOOK AND FOLLOW UP LETTER :
Sent: Sat, Oct 20, 2012 5:57 am
Subject: Copy of response from Ojai residents: To Andrew Hughan from Suza Francina, Ojai Wildlife League:
Good morning Andrew,
Please scroll down for some of the comments in response to the possible killing of the Ojai bear.
Please call Tom Farmer at 320–1414.
He is most knowledgeable about bears and has offered to help DFG investigate.
Thank you, Suza Francina 603–8635
Mary Anne Burns Clearly a more thorough investigation is needed. What happened between the 3 dogs and the cub? If the mother had been intent on killing she could’ve easily done it. She might have just broken up a small skirmish among the smaller animals.
Joan Farber Please keep us posted
Akka B Poet This is outrageous! I’m in tears… This can’t happen again!!!
Thomas Farmer i would be willing to investigate this so called BEAR ATTACK. and work with the DFG and the Ojai Bear Coalition
Michael Osborne Who are we to guess? Mama Bear and Cubs. It ain’t rocket science. Throw dogs into the mix, it is a recipe for disaster. Humans too? There should be no execution without public review.
Eilam Byle this is crazy and so disturbing !!!!
Cathy Elliott Jones Of course I hate to be snarky, but: the woman “could feel the bear’s breath on her neck”? Sounds a wee bit Shades-of-Greyish to me.
Cathy Elliott Jones Thank you for this, Suza. I did not know we had a bear hunt ongoing again.
Cathy Elliott Jones Other cities and counties in California seem to have an entirely different approach to bears in the suburbs. Only here in “Hang ‘em High” County does there seem to be a policy of shoot first, and then shoot again.
Cathy Elliott Jones But … why does LA County make a celebrity out of a bear eating meatballs in the suburbs, and Ventura County advocates a kill-only policy?
Robin Hazel What an incredibly sad story! You are right, this bear could have easily killed the woman AND her dogs but she didn’t. The mother bear walked away as she was only interested in defending her baby. Thank you for writing the letter in hopes of saving her life. Let’s hope that the game warden never finds her and she lives a very long and happy life.
Sherri Skånes OMG…this is stupid. She had a CUB. Everyone knows you don’t go near a momma bear when she has a cub. It was an accident and a surprise on the edge of a NATIONAL FOREST. Leave the poor bears alone. This isn’t a nuisance case.
Candy Pope Many thanks Suza for writing this letter !!! I appreciate your persistence and patience with these folk.
Lizza Reed Unprovoked? Going near a mama bear and her cub is pretty darn “provoked” in my book!
Suza Francina (Tom) Thomas Farmer, Thank you for your offer. I emailed above letter to Andrew Hughan last night. Will try to make some calls today. I wish we could speak directly to the human involved in this incident to find out what really happened.
Juanita Potwin Go to www.bear.org and learn about bears people, she was telling the women to leave and get away from her cub, and doesn’t sound to me like the women left right off, and whats up with them dogs? I wonder if she let them dogs go after her cub.
Liz Gladstone 3 dogs, one to two inch GASH, SEVERAL 6 inch abrasions, FELL down an embankment, DIDN’T seek medical help…….hmmm
Jean-Marie Webster From the news reports she swiped at her and the 3 DOGS that were after her and her cub..woman fell down small ravine and the mother bear came down and looked at her,,she then TURNED and LEFT..Hardly call that an attack..what were the dogs doing..did they go after the cub and mother..did the woman call them off? Once again a mother bear pays the price for the negligence of a person with dogs…the bear was not on the dog owners property ….she was in her forest..where else do we want to push them…I really doubt the dog owner would want her killed as most dog owners are compassionate…and clearly these were extenuating circumstances..besides what if they get the WRONG bear….Fish and Game Is a joke ..this bear did exactly what her instincts told her to do..if i were there with my child and 3 dogs came upon me I would charge them too!!”
Note: Many more comments on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/suza.francina
From Jim Logan “… Sorry about the woman, but the bear was just being a bear. And the line, “There is scientific evidence that when an animal attacks a person, there is a chance they will do it again” is ridiculous. Of course there’s a chance, just as there is that the animal will learn to play the piano.”
Someday lawmakers and the Department of Fish & Game will look back on this era with horror. There has to be a better way!
Good news! http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/10/fish-and-game-ends-search-for-bear-in-ojai.html?fb_action_ids=10151299105164703&fb_action_types=og.recommends&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582
Related Ojai Post story: http://www.ojaipost.com/2012/10/dept-of-fish-and-game-to-be-changed-to-fish-and-wildlife/