“Our message is: Absolutely never do that.” -Jasper National Park Human-Wildlife Conflict Specialist

Last month in Jasper Park a man wrestled a black bear after his dog jumped out of his car window and the bear lunged at it. The CBC reports Steve Malcolm, a human-wildlife conflict specialist for Jasper Park, revealed the details of the attack on a radio interview in Edmonton:

“He wasn’t expecting the dog to jump out and he ended up just jumping on the bear, trying to wrestle that dog free. It’s an instinctive reaction and one that we don’t condone.”

After escaping the vehicles, the dog approached the bear while barking at it. The bear’s predator instincts kicked in:

“Their primary focus is to kill and disable that prey species and then they’ll go into a bit of a defensive mode to protect themselves.”

Malcom believes the bear’s prey-fixation is likely what saved the man for serious injury:

“I think the fellow just caught him in that window where that black bear hadn’t completely killed that dog yet and the bear was basically going to focus on the dog first and then go back to its own defense.”The dog was unfortunately killed in the altercation:

“Really, the fellow is really lucky that he was able to pull that off, but it didn’t change the outcome.” 

This incident serves as is a reminder that the safest policy is to always keep pets on a leash in National Parks (it’s illegal in Canada not to) and for pet owners not to put themselves at risk by attempting to intervene if their pet is attacked by a wild animal:

“They don’t think. They’ll go into a defensive action without thinking, because every one of them that has done it thinks, after the fact, ‘I can’t believe I just did that.’ “

images from tourismjasper ig, jaspernationalpark ig, JasperNP twitter

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