Many people mistakenly think of black bears as harmless.
They are much smaller than grizzly or polar bears, however this fact does not negate the reality that black bears are far from helpless.
They can cause harm to humans in certain situations.
As a recent tragedy demonstrates, a black bear attack can also prove fatal.
Police revealed on Monday that a man was killed by a bear late Sunday afternoon while hiking in northern New Jersey.
Darsh Patel and four friends were hiking in a heavily wooded area when they encountered a black bear. The horrified hikers soon realized that the animal was following them.
The group scattered.
When the hikers later regrouped, it was realized that the 22-year-old Edison, New Jersey native was missing.
The police were notified and nearly two hours later the body of the victim was discovered.
Law enforcement officials stated that there was sufficient evidence to indicate that Patal was the victim of a fatal bear attack.
A black bear found at the scene of the incident was shot and killed.
What’s most startling about this tragic situation is that it marks the first time a man has been killed by a black bear in the state of New Jersey since 1852.
A total of 63 people in North America have been killed by black bears since 1900.
One study suggests that the black bears most likely to engage in fatal attacks are predatory males.
In fact of all the predatory black bears responsible for fatal attacks on humans, 92 percent were male.
Black bears tend to be seen by members of the public as garbage-raiding pests; hilarious clowns more likely to recline in your backyard hammock than express aggressive and dangerous behavior.
This story will serve as an unfortunate reminder that it's important to always watch out for potentially dangerous wild animals if you're in an area they inhabit.
Though black bears tend to fear and flee from humans, it’s important to NEVER underestimate their wild nature.