GRIZZLY kills hiker at YELLOWSTONE ~ BLACK BEAR attacks hiker at VIRGINIA state park ~ BLACK BEAR attacks hiker on WASHINGTON military base ~ CANADA: BLACK BEAR attacks woman walking dog in BRITISH COLUMBIA ~ FLORIDA woman loses arm in ALLIGATOR attack ~ NEW HAMPSHIRE scientist questions success of new EBOLA VACCINE

Bear ID Handout: Center for Wildlife Information, Montana.

Bear ID Handout: Center for Wildlife Information, Montana.

Yellowstone National Park 08/10/15 by Ashley Lewis – Yellowstone National Park officials are piecing together clues of a bear attack that left a seasoned Montana hiker dead on Friday. The 63-year-old hiker from Billings, Lance Crosby, was the first human to have an encounter with a bear in Yellowstone this year, a park spokeswoman told CNN.  Only four bear-related fatalities were reported from 2010 to 2014, the spokeswoman said. “We may not be able to conclusively determine the circumstances of this bear attack, but we will not risk public safety,” Dan Wenk, superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, said in a statement.  The man was reported missing on Friday when he was a no-show for work, officials said.

8520329_GA park ranger discovered his mutilated body a half mile from the Elephant Black Loop Trail near Lake Village, Wyo., authorities said. The man’s body was partially devoured, but officials said they found defensive wounds on his arms that indicate he didn’t go down without a fight. Paw prints at the scene point to an adult female grizzly and a cub as the culprits, authorities said. – For complete article and photos see

Virginia 08/09/15 by Laura Kebede – A Midlothian woman survived a bear attack Saturday at Douthat State Park in Bath County that left her with 14 stitches in her back and 14 in her leg. An adult female black bear believed to be the attacker was tracked and killed early Sunday. The bear attack prompted the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation to close several miles of trails on the west side of state Route 629, which was scheduled to be reopened today. Laurie Cooksey was hiking Saturday with three of her four children after a day of canoeing and camping the night before. When they reached the Tuscarora Overlook and took a selfie, rain clouds were quickly forming, she said. So about 6 p.m., the foursome headed down the steep, windy trail — with Cooksey and her 19-year-old son Ellis walking ahead of her daughter Hannah Cate, 16, and son Blake, 22.

8877449Within five minutes, Ellis spotted the black bear peering at them from behind a tree about 10 yards away, Laurie Cooksey said. Almost immediately, the bear charged. They retreated in the opposite direction, but the bear caught up and headed them off. “He was fast. He was just so fast,” she said. The bear clawed Cooksey’s back and knocked her to the ground off the trail. “The saving grace was it was raining hard and the leaves were slippery,” she said. They both slid in the leaves and she found herself slightly uphill from the bear when it bit her twice on the leg. Cooksey kicked just enough for the bear to lose its balance on the incline and slide far enough away for Cooksey to make a run for it, she said. When they caught up with the other two who were unaware of the incident, the bear reappeared. But this time, Blake continually yelled “Get big! Get loud!” as he and Ellis screamed and jumped to intimidate the bear as they had been instructed in materials they received when they visited Yosemite National Park. It worked. The bear turned around. – For complete article see

JointBase1Washington 08/06/15 by Alexandra Kocik – A hiker and his 15-year-old son wandered into the wrong place at the wrong time Saturday at Training Area 15, near the East Gate Extension on Lewis Main. The two startled a black bear on the trail resulting in the animal attacking the man before the bear was scared away. After scaring the bear away, the man called 911 on his cell phone. The hiker is an Air Force Reservist assigned to a unit in Germany. He was able to drive to a nearby medical facility to get treatment for his injuries — scratches, lacerations and puncture wounds on his arms, legs and face. His son was not injured. Had it been a life threatening emergency, he would have been transported to Madigan Army Medical Center. Joint Base Lewis-McChord Provost Marshal Maj. Jay Cash said the hikers were in an approved area for hiking when they startled the bear. “It should be noted to anyone that JBLM training areas are known to be habitat for a numbers of black bears and other wildlife such as mountain lions,” he said. “They should not assume that these areas are free from risk. JBLM works hard to ensure our natural resources are protected while at the same time, safe for the public.” Cash said the injured hiker most likely startled the bear, which makes them aggressive. The military police are currently working with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officers to determine if trapping and relocating the bear to another location is warranted. – For complete article see


374560763British Columbia 08/10/15 by Megan Turcato – A Willowbrook woman’s arm was broken when she was attacked by a black bear Wednesday while walking her dog in a park in the rural community near Oliver. She also suffered a scratch to her face as well as cuts and scrapes to her back. “[The bear] knocked her down to start with and she got some scratch marks on her back but they didn’t penetrate, just marks, and then it started to bite at her,” says the victim’s husband Joseph Treitl. “It did bite her really bad [in the forearm] and crunched some bones.” Luckily, the woman was able to escape when the bear chased her dog. Her dog was not hurt. “She was lucky that the dog distracted the bear because if he would’ve come back and started biting at her again, she would’ve been worse off,” says Treitl. The Conservation Officer Service says it was an unprovoked attack by an adult female black bear. Conservation officer Jim Beck says the bear appeared to be healthy and didn’t have any cubs with her. – For video and complete article see


15578446Florida 08/09/15 by Steven Lemogello – The alligator that attacked an Orlando woman swimming in the Wekiva River Saturday afternoon — biting off her arm just above the elbow — has been caught and euthanized, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Sunday. The gator was caught at 12:25 a.m. Sunday morning, FWC spokeswoman Karen Parker said. The attack took place near Wekiva Island, which rents canoes and cabanas and serves drinks from an outdoor bar. The woman, who was identified Sunday as Rachael D. Lilienthal, 37, of Orlando, was swimming upstream away from a crowded beach area when she was bitten by an alligator, according to FWC officials. Lilienthal was bitten at least twice and her right arm was severed above the elbow, Parker said. A kayaker struck the alligator with a paddle and caused it to release its grip on Lilienthal. Two kayakers brought her to the marina, Parker said, where Seminole County deputies administered first aid. Lilienthal was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center for treatment. Her condition is unknown. – For complete article see


Global 08/11/15 by Timothy P. Lahey – Ebola is on the run: the number of cases dipped below 10 a week  recently, and a few days ago investigators announced in the prestigious journal The Lancet  that a new Ebola vaccine was “100% effective.” In response, global health authorities are starting to sound a little giddy. “We believe that the world is on the verge of an efficacious Ebola vaccine,” said  Marie Paule Kieny, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) assistant director-general for health systems and innovation (and an author on the study). “It could be a game changer.”

ebola-vaccine-thumbnail-1280x768She’s right: this is wonderful news, and a great testament to human ingenuity. A genetically engineered hybrid  of the benign vesicular stomatitis virus and the Zaire strain of Ebola, together called rVSV-ZEBOV, was tested in a multi-site clinical trial conducted amid a massive aid response in Guinea, one of the poorest countries in Africa. The scientific and logistical acrobatics required to pull this off boggle the mind. Yet, for three reasons, we cannot know if the vaccine really worked, or how well. Those reasons are the lack of placebo comparison, the way the investigators diagnosed vaccine failure and the possibility of statistical flukes. – For lengthy article analyzing these three reasons see


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