PATAGONIA – Arizona Game and Fish officials want to warn the public about a bear attack near Patagonia.
Officials say the attack happened Sunday afternoon about six miles south of Patagonia in an area called Washington Camp.
Mark Hart with Game and Fish said a male hiker encountered the roughly 200-pound bear. It charged, setting off a nearly five-minute-long struggle that left the man with serious injuries on his legs, arms and back.
“They can and are lethal. In this case, fortunately, they were not,” said Hart.
The hiker has been released from the hospital. Officials have put out traps to try and catch the bear.
Bear attack Sunday south of Patagonia. Victim treated and released. Injuries to arms, legs & back. Black bear brown in color with blonde streaks. Call 623-236-7201 ASAP if seen and scare off. Secure garbage until pickup day there. pic.twitter.com/3ZdDbQupFl
— AZ Game & Fish Dept (@azgfdTucson) September 17, 2018
“By policy, it must be destroyed because it has attacked a human being,” said Hart. “It’s a threat to public safety and it must go.”
While officials search for the bear, they’re asking people living or visiting the area to use extra caution.
“We don’t want you to come face to face with this bear. If you do stand your ground. Stand up straight, yell, throw objects you have on hand and try to scare it away,” said Hart. “If it won’t break off its approach, back away slowly. But either way, face the bear.”
This is the first bear attack in southern Arizona in recent memory.