MAP: Fatal Bear Attacks in North America
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Data is sourced from a variety of news organizations and archives. Click on each location point for external links to the referenced articles.
On a whole, tracking both bear sighting and non-fatal bear attack statistics can be challenging to compile, because cases can either be incomplete, or go unreported. However,
bear attacks are reported, covered and tracked far more frequently, by society.
This map includes all fatal bear attack incidents, and their resulting deaths, in North America, between January 2000 through June 2017.
In June, two back-to-back fatal bear maulings occurred, in Alaska. These two incidents, one
, and another
, marked 2017's first two death-by-bear cases, in North America.
In the 2000s, there have been 46 total fatal bear attack incidents, resulting in 48 total deaths, in North America, so far. Of these incidents, 27 occurred in the United States, and 19 occurred in Canada.
Moreover, eight fatal bear attack incidents, resulting in 10 deaths, occurred in Alaska, between January 2000 through June 2017.
During this period, Alaska's number of incidents account for 29.6 percent of all fatal attacks in the U.S., along with 17.4 percent of all fatal attacks in North America. And the state's number of resulting deaths account for 34.5 percent of total deaths-by-bear in the U.S., and 20.8 percent of total deaths-by-bear in North America.
Of the 46 total fatal incidents, black bears perpetrated 25 of the attacks, while brown bears perpetrated 21 of them.
According to biologists, black bears have the tendency to be less aggressive - more timid - towards humans, in comparison to brown bears. But the Alaska Department of Fish and Game says everyone should always be cautious of bears, regardless.
Most years, there are three fatal bear attack incidents on the continent, per year. But on average, this number decreases to 2.56 fatal incidents, per year.
So far, the greatest number of fatal attacks to occur in any one year was in 2005, at six incidents. But one year prior, in 2004, the continent had its lowest number of fatal bear incidents, at zero.
While bear attacks are relatively rare occurrences, if you ever make contact with a bear, ADF&G says you have two choices: play dead or fight back.
When a bear is acting defensive, especially brown bears, the department says to
But when a bear perceives a human as food, the department says to
Also important, the department warns people against running away from bears.
"They will chase fleeing animals," according to ADF&G. "A charging bear might come within a few feet, before running off. It's important to stand your ground."
And in Alaska, if you kill a bear in Defense of Life or Property (DLP), you must notify the local
. They will request that you submit the bear's skull and hide, with claws attached, alongside a
, for investigation.
For more information about bears in Alaska, visit ADF&G's