Bear Responsible for Attack on Valles Caldera Marathon Runner Caught & Euthanized

New Mexico Game & Fish
New Mexico Game & Fish
New Mexico Game & Fish
New Mexico Department of Game and Fish

JEMEZ-( New Mexico Department of Game and Fish conservation officers tracked and killed an adult female black bear that attacked a woman Saturday afternoon while she was participating in a marathon event on the Valles Caldera National Preserve near Los Alamos.

The bear is to be transported to the state Veterinary Diagnostic Services center for necropsy. State law requires any wild animal that attacks or bites a human be euthanized and tested for rabies which is spread when an infected animal scratches or bites another animal or human. Although it is rare, rabies is nearly 100 percent fatal if not properly treated.

“It is regrettable when a wildlife encounter results in human injuries and requires we euthanize the animal,” said Department Director Alexandra Sandoval. “We are thankful that the injuries sustained by the victim were not worse and are hopeful that she is able to recover quickly.”

The bear was located not far from where the attack occurred and matches the information given by the victim. The bear was part of a study involving wild bears and was collared with a GPS tracking device which helped Officers confirm the bear’s location at the time of the incident. Officers are confident they caught the right bear.

The attack occurred when the victim surprised it causing at least one cub to run up a nearby tree. The woman was bit and scratched multiple times and sustained serious, but non-life threatening injuries to her upper body, head and neck. Nearby joggers provided immediate assistance until additional help could arrive. She was airlifted to an Albuquerque area hospital where she was treated for her injuries.

Officers later determined the bear had three young cubs, which averted capture Sunday. Officers will continue efforts, including the use of live traps to capture and place the cubs in the care of the New Mexico Wildlife Center in Espanola.

Here are some ways to protect yourself If you encounter a bear:

  • Stop, and back away slowly while facing the bear. Avoid direct eye contact, as the bear may consider that a threat. Do not run. Make yourself appear large by holding out your jacket. If you have small children, pick them up so they don’t run.
  • Give the bear plenty of room to escape, so it doesn’t feel threatened or trapped. If a black bear attacks you, fight back using anything at your disposal, such as rocks, sticks, binoculars or even your bare hands. Aim for the bear’s nose and eyes.
  • If the bear has not seen you, stay calm and slowly move away, making noise so the bear knows you are there. Never get between a mother bear and her cubs.

If you live or camp in bear country:

  • Keep garbage in airtight containers inside your garage or storage area. Place garbage outside in the morning just before pickup, not the night before. Occasionally clean cans with ammonia or bleach.
  • Remove bird feeders. Bears see them as sweet treats, and often they will look for other food sources nearby.
  • Never put meat or sweet-smelling food scraps such as melon in your compost pile.
    Don’t leave pet food or food dishes outdoors at night.
  • Clean and store outdoor grills after use. Bears can smell sweet barbecue sauce and grease for miles.
  • Never intentionally feed bears to attract them for viewing.
  • Keep your camp clean, and store food and garbage properly at all times. Use bear-proof containers when available. If not, suspend food, toiletries, coolers and garbage from a tree at least 10 feet off the ground and 4 feet out from the tree trunk.
  • Keep your tent and sleeping bag free of all food smells. Store the clothes you wore while cooking or eating with your food.
  • Sleep a good distance from your cooking area or food storage site.
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Tim Walsh

As a hunter and a person who enjoys the out doors and yes that includes shooting camping and trail running. I read the account from the runner she ran up a hill just as she topped the hill she saw the mother and the cubs . As some had said this runner should of backed away by het account the attack happened within 15 seconds . This could of happened to anyone , could she have wore bells yes the mother bear would of avoided her the Cubs who knows?? as most / some of know Cubs are like human… Read more »


AND we get the usual STUPIDITY of our governments; KILLING a Mama Bear that was trying to protect her young.
What’s the matter with those morons in that state; The RUNNER INVADED the bears habitat, scared its cubs and got her JUST reward, mauled by Mama Bear; Then the state KILLS the bear. “SHAME ON YOU NEW MEXICO !!”


ALL bears must be sent the message that attacks on humans will not be tolerated, even if they do it in self-defense. I propose we make this a law New Mexico and that each and every bear be handed a copy of it so they can’t claim ignorance. Furthermore, having any claw over 4″ in length will be considered a felony. Any bear that wants to be in the area of any human wilderness event must obtain a permit from New Mexico Dept of Fish and Game 30 days ahead of any such event.


Sorry the bear died and the woman was hurt, but what a laugh about the advice on how to protect yourself. Doesn’t anyone see the liberal take on life? I quote: “If a black bear attacks you, fight back using anything at your disposal, such as rocks, sticks, binoculars or even your bare hands. Aim for the bear’s nose and eyes.” Rocks? Binoculars? Sticks? Bare hands? Really? I’m still laughing! I guess we don’t want to hurt the poor bear nor encourage responsible firearms ownership. Way to go NMGF!

Bob Koceja

Ditto! If you want to run , I’m sure there are plenty of other places to run. But then “it’s all about me” and I want to
to do. How many of these Users contribute to conservation?

graybeard 65

I agree, also the event leader for the same reason. I wonder if the tables were turned If she(the woman)would defend her kids as well ???


I second Wild Bill’s comments. Since this female did the same thing that any other with cubs would have done, authorities should have turned and walked away.

Wild Bill

They should have tracked and euthanized that idiot woman and the retarded bastards that routed the race through the Valles Caldera National Preserve. Now one good mother bear is dead and three little ones will not survive. Department Director Alexandra Sandoval is an idiot if she could not come up with a different solution.