A Virginia woman named Laurie Cooksey fell victim to a bear attack in Bath County, Virginia’s Douthat State Park over the weekend.
The attack, which took place after a day of hiking and canoeing with three of her four children, left Laurie with 14 stitches in her back and 14 more in her leg.
Cooksey and her children were headed down the Tuscaroa Overlook trail when they encountered an adult black bear. By the time they saw the bear it was only ten yards away, peering at them from behind a nearby tree.
According to Cooksey, she and her children began retreaing upon seeing the bear, but it caught up with her first.
“He was fast. He was just so fast,” Cooksey later told the Richmond Times Dispatch while recovering from wounds sustained during the attack. “I’m very thrilled that it was me and not (my children)…I’m really grateful.”
Fortunately, Cooksey was able to knock the bear off balance with several kicks, but not before sustaining severe bite wounds.
“The saving grace was it was raining hard and the leaves were slippery,” she said.
After freeing herself from the bear’s grasp, Cooksley made a run for it and regrouped with her children at which point the bear approached the family one more time. At this point, Laurie’s 19 year-old son Ellis intervened.
He advised the group to “get big” and “get loud”, tactics he’d learned during a recent trip to Yosemite National Park.
The strategy worked, the bear withdrew, and Laurie Cookesy was later treated and discharged from LewisGale Hospital Alleghany on Saturday night.
According to the Richmond Time Dispatch the “Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation law enforcement officers, along with a district wildlife biologist, tracked the bear to a location near the site of the incident and humanely killed the bear around 4 a.m. Sunday.”
They are still unable to say with absolute certainty whether or not the bear they euthanized is indeed the black bear that attacked Laurie. Genetic testing is excepted to return within a week that will determine the bear’s true identity.
This Virginia attack comes on the heels of a Grizzly bear attack that left one hiker dead and “partially consumed” in Yellowstone National Park on Friday. This attack occurred near Yellowstone’s Lake Village on a hiking trail popular with tourists and employees who live and work near the Lake Yellowstone Hotel.
The victim, 63-year old Lance Crosby, was an experienced hiker and Montana native who had worked in Yellowstone going on five seasons. The grizzly bear and one of her cubs believed to be responsible for his killing have been captured. If it is determined that the captured sow is indeed the bear that mauled and consumed Crosby it will likely be euthanized and its cub placed in a zoo.
Bear attacks are becoming more and more frequent as human development continues to encroach on wildlife habitat and National Parks like Yellowstone see steady influxes of tourist from around the world.
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