On Friday, a devastating event occurred in Arizona when an unsuspecting man, Steven Jackson, was fatally mauled by a black bear.
The 66-year-old Tuscan resident was sitting outside drinking coffee on his Groom Creek property when the attack happened without warning. Witnesses reported that the large male bear grabbed Jackson and dragged him around 75 feet down an embankment, where it began to viciously maul him. Neighbors desperately tried to intervene by making noise, but the animal refused to let go. In the end, one neighbor had to shoot the bear dead in order to save Jackson, but it was too late.
The Arizona Game and Fish department believes the attack was a “predatory response,” but are at a loss as to what caused it. There was no evidence of food, a cooking site, or access to water that could have provoked the incident. It is possible that disease could have played a role, and an investigation is underway as a necropsy will be performed on the bear.
Todd Geiler of Prescott, a member of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, expressed his condolences to Jackson’s family and reminded people that wildlife can be unpredictable. This was only the second known fatal attack by a black bear in Arizona, the other one occurring in 2011 in Pinetop. There have been 15 nonfatal bear attacks on people in Arizona since 1990. Officials recommend that residents do not shoot bears unless they detect an imminent threat.