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Contact: Brittney Van Der Werff, 575-829-4821
On Saturday, June 18, 2016 in midafternoon, a participant in a permitted running event on Valles Caldera National Preserve was attacked by a female American black bear when the individual came upon the bear's cubs along a backcountry road being used as the event route. The incident occurred in the southwest corner of the preserve, known as Banco Bonito, approximately seven miles away from the Valle Grande. The runner was part of a marathon event being conducted on the preserve under a special use permit. The individual was found by another runner, and aid was dispatched to their location. The injured runner was evacuated by medical helicopter and taken to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque for treatment, and is expected to recover from the injuries. Pursuant to New Mexico State law, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) dispatched officers to the area to conduct an investigation and attempt to locate the bear and euthanize it in order to test for rabies. Questions and concerns regarding NMDGF operations can be expressed by calling: 1-888-248-6866.
"Our deepest thoughts and sympathies are with the individual during their recovery from the injuries," said Jorge Silva-Bañuelos, superintendent of Valles Caldera National Preserve.