"Our message is: Absolutely never do that." That's what Canada's Jasper National Park is trying to communicate loud and clear. The "that" it's referring to is a May 16 incident in which a man jumped onto a black bear in an attempt to rescue his dog, which had spontaneously jumped from an open car window and barked at the bear, which then attacked it. The dog didn't make it. The man managed to emerge unscathed, with the park's human-wildlife conflict specialist Steve Malcolm suggesting to the CBC that "prey-fixation" was his saving grace.
"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," says Malcolm, who says it's the first such case of its kind he can recall, though there have been two incidents where parkgoers went after cougars to try to save their dogs. GlobalNews reports the car had pulled over specifically to observe the bear, and the park wrote on Facebook that "it is clear that this dog was under control until it escaped from the car through an open window. This is a sad reminder that all pets should be kept under control and on-leash at all times." (A week after starting her dream job, a bear attacked.)