Update on Chelan County black bear incident

WDFW statement

Last updated Oct. 22, 2022 at 12:30 p.m. 

On Saturday, Oct. 22 at approximately 7 a.m., Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Officers received a report of a human-black bear incident that occurred at a residence adjacent to Enchantment Park and Blackbird Island in Leavenworth in Chelan County.

The woman had let her dog out that morning when she was charged by an adult female black bear. The woman sustained non-life-threatening injuries and is currently receiving medical care at a Wenatchee hospital.

“We are extremely thankful that the victim is receiving medical care from this unfortunate encounter,” said Captain Mike Jewell. “Public safety is our priority; our officers and staff were quick to mobilize to locate the animal and secure the scene.”

Officers with the use of a Karelian bear dog located and lethally removed an adult sow black bear near where the incident occurred later that morning. Additionally two cubs, approximately nine months old, were captured, assessed, and transported to a PAWS wildlife rehabilitation facility.

In Washington state, the only recorded fatal black bear attack on a human was reported in 1974. Since 1970, state authorities have recorded 19 other human-black bear encounters that resulted in a documented injury. 

WDFW officials offer the following advice to minimize the risk of injury if a bear is encountered:  

In general bears avoid people, but they’re naturally curious animals. If a bear walks toward you, identify yourself as a human by standing up, waving your hands above your head, and talking in a low voice. Back away, avoiding direct eye contact. Don’t run from a bear. WDFW recommends making noise and leashing pets while hiking. Be aware of your surroundings as to not accidentally startle a bear. While recreating, WDFW recommends carrying bear spray that is readily accessible and knowing how to use it. More information on how to use bear spray is available on WDFW's blog.  

More information on why relocation or rehabilitation are not always options following bear incidents is available in this Aug. 10 blog post.

Initial statement: Oct. 22, 2022 at 10:50 a.m.

Early Saturday morning Oct. 22, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Officers received a report of a human-black bear incident with documented injuries at a residence adjacent to Enchantment Park and Blackbird Island in Leavenworth. The adult female involved is currently receiving medical care for her injuries. Fish and Wildlife personnel with the use a Karelian bear dog located and lethally removed an adult black bear near the area of the incident.   

WDFW will release another update at 12:30 p.m. 

WDFW officials offer the following advice to minimize the risk of injury if a bear is encountered:  

In general bears avoid people, but they’re naturally curious animals. If a bear walks toward you, identify yourself as a human by standing up, waving your hands above your head, and talking in a low voice. Back away, avoiding direct eye contact. Don’t run from a bear. WDFW recommends making noise and leashing pets while hiking. Be aware of your surroundings as to not accidentally startle a bear. While recreating, WDFW recommends carrying bear spray that is readily accessible and knowing how to use it. More information on how to use bear spray is available on WDFW's blog.  

For more information on living with black bears go to: https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/species/ursus-americanus#living

Individuals who need to receive this information in an alternative format, language, or who need reasonable accommodations to participate in WDFW-sponsored public meetings or other activities may contact the Title VI/ADA Compliance Coordinator by phone at 360-902-2349, TTY (711), or email (Title6@dfw.wa.gov). For more information, see https://wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/requests-accommodation.

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