Bear Attack New Jersey : Hiker snapped pictures of bear before fatal attack in West Milford

Updated: November 26, 2014
Bear Attack New Jersey : Hiker snapped pictures of bear before fatal attack in West Milford

New Jersey bear attack victim took these photos just before he was killed, The bear, which is seen in the photos behind a fallen tree, put puncture marks in the phone, authorities told AP.

Darsh Patel, 22, a student at Rutgers University, was hiking with a group of friends in Apshawa Preserve in West Milford in September when they came upon the bear about 300 feet away. When the animal got within 15 feet, the five hikers spllit up, running in different directions.

A state Fish and Wildlife report said the group had been warned about the bear by a couple they encountered a short time before who said the bear had been following them. But Patel and his friends continued down the trail because they hoped to see the animal.

“They stopped and took photographs of the bear with their cell phones and the bear began walking towards them,” the report said.

Patel’s friends said they last saw him scrambling up some rocks. He had lost a shoe and the bear was closing in.

They called 911. Police found his body about four hours later.

A bear shot by police had human remains in its stomach and blood and flesh under its claws. That bear was found near the body, and was behaving aggressively, although it was not immediately clear if it was the same bear that killed Patel.

Bears had been wiped out in New Jersey, but the population has rebounded to about 2,500 from animals crossing into the state from New York and Pennsylvania.

There were no fatal attacks on record in New Jersey, although about 60 people have been killed by bears in the United States in a century. With a growing bear population spreading to new areas in the state and more people living in formerly rural areas, nuisance encounters have become increasingly common.