A Florida woman was mauled after encountering a bear while walking her dogs near her home. The woman's face was wounded in the attack and she ran to a neighbor for help as soon as she was able to free herself from the bear. The neighbor called 911 and said that the woman's face was so bloody that he could not even tell how old she was.
Florida Fish and Wildlife officials are refusing to call the mauling an attack until they can get more information about the incident and the events leading up to it. Although bears do live in Florida, they are usually too afraid of people and dogs to approach them. However, bears will defend themselves and their young if they feel threatened.
Florida Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Karen Parker said,
"Bears are very, very elusive. They're pretty much more afraid of you than you are of them, and normally when they see a human and they've not been fed and have not been habituated -- they're going to run away. They don't want to encounter us any more than we want to encounter them."
The incident occurred in Longwood, Florida, an area inhabited by black bears. Florida residents often report black bear sightings, but very few report encounters. Bears lived in Longwood long before it was populated by humans, so it is understandable that they would still frequent the area.
Residents believe that the bears are becoming less shy and more willing to chance an encounter with humans to obtain food that they find in trash cans and dumpsters throughout the city.
Nobody witnessed the mauling and the victim is unable to talk to provide investigators with details of the incident. Florida Fish and Wildlife officials were able to capture a young bear in the area and are testing its DNA with that found on the victim, to determine if it may have been the bear involved in the mauling.
Image from Wikimedia Commons.