Hiker Played Dead While Being Mauled by Grizzly Bear, Who May Have Been Protecting Cub

A Massachusetts man was injured following a bear attack in Wyoming on May 19

Getty A stock image of a grizzly bear
Getty A stock image of a grizzly bear

A Massachusetts hiker who was mauled by a bear on May 19 in Wyoming reportedly told officials that he pretended to be dead as he was being bitten.

According to a news release from Grand Teton National Park, authorities received a report of a man who was seriously injured by a bear in the Signal Mountain Summit Road area.

“Grand Teton National Park rangers and Teton County Search and Rescue personnel responded to the scene to provide emergency medical care and air lifted the patient via helicopter to an awaiting ambulance where he was transported to St. John’s Hospital,” the statement read, adding that the man, 35, was in stable condition and expected to recover from his injuries.

The park also said that the incident may have been a surprise encounter involving the man and two grizzly bears, “with one of the bears contacting and injuring the visitor,” based on a preliminary investigation and initial reports.

Related: How to Prevent Bear Attacks and What to Do If a Bear Approaches You, According to Experts

The Associated Press reported that the victim, who was not identified, told officials that he encountered a small bear that ran away from him. Then, according to the Massachusetts hiker, a large bear came at him as he was holding bear-repellent spray.

The man then fell to the ground before he could use the repellent and had his fingers on his neck and another finger on the canister. He was bitten several times by the bear until the animal bit into the canister, which burst.

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Both bears then ran away, the AP reported. The injured man was able to get to an area that had cell phone coverage and contacted for help.

Related: Tourist Mauled After Rolling Down Window to Take Selfie with Bear

Per a statement, via the AP, park officials said that the bear who bit the man and the canister won’t be captured or killed because the animal was probably trying to protect a cub.

PEOPLE reached out to Grand Teton National Park for additional information.

The Grand Teton National Park in its statement about the incident offered tips on avoiding human-bear conflicts–among them, not leaving food unattended unless it is secured; giving the bear space if you see one and staying away from the animal for at least 100 yards; and not eating or cooking in a tent.

The incident comes just three days after a 36-year-old man “suffered numerous injuries” following an attack by an adult grizzly bear in Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced.  The victim's father, who was with his son at the time, called for help.

Related: Pennsylvania Man Bitten on the Head During Bear Attack Inside His Garage: 'I Got Pummeled'

The injured man was later rescued and transported to a hospital; he was reported in stable condition as he was leaving the scene, said authorities. The bear in that incident was later found deceased.

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