Marathon Runner Played Dead in Bear Attack

NM woman says mama bear 'was just being a bear'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 20, 2016 12:17 AM CDT
Bear Attacks Marathon Runner
The Valles Caldera National Preserve in New Mexico.   (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan,File)

A woman was running a marathon in a national preserve in northern New Mexico Saturday when she was attacked by a bear, wildlife officials say. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish says Karen Williams—who suffered several bites and scratches and had injuries to her head, neck, and upper body that weren't life-threatening—surprised the female black bear after her cub had run up a tree in the Valles Caldera National Preserve, the AP reports. Williams says she played dead for around half an hour until other runners arrived. They called emergency crews and she was airlifted to an Albuquerque hospital.

In a Facebook post, Williams says she had only had time to raise her arms and shout "No!" when she came to the top of a rise and the bear charged her, the Albuquerque Journal reports. "Then I was on my ass and being raked with claws and bitten," she writes. "I cried out in pain and Mama bear did not like that so she hit me with a left hook and bit my neck and started to try to shake me. I rolled into a ball and played dead." Officials say the bear was captured and euthanized to check for rabies, as state law requires. When her three cubs are found, they will be turned over to a wildlife center. "I am really sorry that the mama bear died," Williams says. "She was just being a bear." (After an attack on a hiker in Tennessee, authorities euthanized the wrong bear.)

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