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Bear Harasses Families, Injures Man at Campsite

September 04, 2004|From Associated Press

A bear injured a camper Friday in the Angeles National Forest and forced another family in the same campground to spend the night in a bathroom after it went into their tent.

State Fish and Game officials said the 39-year-old man was injured after he heard the bear rummaging through the family's ice chest about 2 a.m. The man, who wasn't identified, was camping with his wife and two daughters at the Chilao Campground, about 30 miles north of Los Angeles.

The couple agreed that the man would distract the bear while the wife and two daughters ran for their vehicle. The bear retaliated after the man threw something at it, forest spokeswoman Kathy Peterson said.

"He swatted at him and that threw the man against the picnic table, and the bear turned his attention to the ice chest. As he was eating, the man made his way to the family" waiting in the car, Peterson said.

The Forest Service arrived to help the man, who suffered cuts to his chest. He was not seriously injured, Peterson said.

The campground was closed Friday so state Fish and Game officials could find and kill the bear for being aggressive, Peterson said.

In the earlier incident, which took place about 1 a.m. at a campsite about 50 yards away, a family saw the bear and decided to pack up and leave. As they took down one of their tents, the bear went inside, said Martin Wall, a patrol lieutenant with Fish and Game.

The bear also jumped up and down on the family's car and smashed the roof. The family fled to a bathroom and spent the rest of the night inside, Wall said.

Fish and Game knew the two incidents involved the same bear, believed to weigh from 200 to 250 pounds, because of its tracks, Wall said. The bear was recognizable by its unusual coloring: dark with light hairs on its back.

There have not been an unusual number of bear incidents this summer, Peterson said.

She said campers should keep food in odor-proof containers or hang it high from trees so bears can't get it. Some bears will break into cars to get food if it isn't kept in an odor-proof container.

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