Former U.S. Freestyle Ski Team member attacked by black bear and then repeatedly punched bear to survive
Have you or someone you know ever encountered a bear? What did you/that person do in that situation?
NBC Today Interview of Ani Haas video http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/43969172 #43969172
Reenactment animation of the bear attack found on YouTube "How to fend off black bear" by NMAWorldEdition
Some excerpts from news articles, click on links to read full articles.
'I just tried to be as large and aggressive as I could': U.S. ski champion reveals how she fought off black bear... with her fists By David Gardner
...Former U.S. Ski champion Ani Haas revealed today how she survived a bear attack – by fighting back and punching the charging animal in the face.
....At first she tried to run away, but quickly remembered the safety warnings she heard growing up in the state where confrontations with bears is always a possibility in the wild. Instead of trying to flee, Ani turned and went toe to toe with the angry animal. ‘I looked behind me, and she was right behind me,’ she told anchor Anne Curry on this morning’s Today show. ‘I realized running from wild animals is the worst thing you can do,’ she added.
...'Growing up in Montana, you’re always hearing what you’re supposed to do in different instances with different animals. 'All the protocols are different, so I just remembered while everything was happening.’
The bear caught up with Ani and slashed her chest and left arm.
With grizzly bears, animal experts say it is often a good idea to lie down and play dead. But with black bears, it is a better bet to try and frighten off an aggressive attacker. Miss Haas said: ‘That’s exactly what I remembered — just try to be as large and aggressive as you can be. That’s what I tried to do.'
She said she punched the bear repeatedly in the head, landing one blow that even dropped the creature to the ground. But after throwing a rock, the bear only seemed more enraged so Miss Haas backed up slowly. ‘I noticed the more quiet and calm I became, the more quiet she was,’ she said. Incredibly, the bear lost interest and went back to her cubs. Miss Haas walked backwards for about five minutes, praying the bear wouldn’t come back.
She then jogged back to her car and drove to the hospital.
Miss Haas, who was a member of the U.S. ski team up until last year, said her father bought her a gift after her brush with the bear last Friday. ‘I got an industrial-sized can of bear spray,’ she said.
"Missoula woman describes bout with mama bear" By GWEN FLORIO
....Lest you already thought Ani Haas - the U.S. Ski Team member who faced down an attacking bear during a jog in Missoula's Crazy Canyon - was Superwoman, you don't know the half of it.
Haas was a full 14 miles into a run Friday morning when she looked one way and saw a black bear nearby and looked the other and saw two cubs scrambling up a tree. Within moments, the bear was on her. The accompanying adrenaline surge beat any runner's high. "I felt no pain," Haas said.
"Each time she sunk her claws into me ... I could only think of what's the next thing I need to do."
The next thing, it turned out, was to fight back, punching the bear repeatedly in the head and screaming as loud as she could.
"A really extreme case of standing up for yourself," she termed it Monday in a telephone interview from New York City. Haas was there to describe her ordeal to the nation on NBC's "Today" show Monday morning, recounting how she started to run, but stopped when she realized the bear was gaining on her. The bear closed in, stood and raked her claws across Haas' chest and upper arm.
"I was thinking that if I was more aggressive than she was, maybe she would turn and leave me alone," she told the Missoulian. It worked. The bear dropped down to all four feet, backing away from her troublesome opponent, making a couple of bluff charges, and finally collecting her cubs and disappearing into the trees.
....On Monday, she displayed the large bandages on her left arm and the parallel gouges down her chest to "Today" host Ann Curry. She also thought of the three little girls she takes care of in her job as a nanny to "the most wonderful family in town." "They kind of inspired me to do this," she said. "Those girls are incredible. Every day I try to tell them to be confident in who they are."
Going on the show, she said, gave her a chance to share that message. "I thought, maybe if it touches one person, it can help them change their perspective. Maybe they'll decide to go out for the team, or stand up to someone on the playground. That's what's important for me."
She's now in her second year as an exercise science major at the University of Montana.
Edited by SkierScott - 8/3/11 at 2:45pm