BEARS have a rather loveable image thanks to many children having a soft teddy bear to cuddle at night but the reality can be very different.
While bear attacks on humans are relatively rare they can be particularly vicious, with the powerful animals able to smash skulls, pulp faces and skin their victims alive.
Todd Orr managed to survive not one but two savage maulings while he was out hiking in Montana in October 2016.
Orr had got out looking for elk in Madison Valley when he came across a mummy bear with her two cubs.
Protecting her two babies the bear launched an attack with Orr defending himself with bear spray but that didn’t stop her.
She initially swiped his head and then his shoulder causing some nasty injuries but not life threatening.
Orr said: “She got my head good – I don’t know what’s under my hat – my ear, my arm, uh, pieces of stuff hanging out. I don’t know what’s going on in there. And then my shoulder. She ripped up, I think my arm’s broke, but legs are good, internal organs are good, eyes are good. I just walked out three miles, now I got to go to the hospital, so be safe out there. Bear spray doesn’t always work but it’s better than nothing.”
Although in shock and injured, Orr carried on his trek but within minutes the bear was back and launched another attack.
“She slammed down on top of me and bit my shoulder and arms again,” Orr wrote in a Facebook post. “One bite on my forearm went through to the bone and I heard a crunch. My hand instantly went numb and wrist and fingers were limp and unusable. The sudden pain made me flinch and gasp for breath. The sound triggered a frenzy of bites to my shoulder and upper back.”
Then, strangely, the bear just stopped her attack and wandered off.
Orr eventually was able to walk back to his truck and drive 17 miles to get help.
He was taken to Madison Valley Medical Center in Ennis where he needed eight hours of stitching to sort out his injuries.
Allena Hansen was mauled by a black bear on her ranch in the Sequoia Mountains, California, in 2008.
In the brutal attack she lost her nose, ears and 14 teeth.
“When the bear attacked me it just grabbed me by the ears and bit into my face and took me down,” Hansen told the Independent in 2020. “So basically my face was ripped off.”
She managed to fight it off thanks to the help of her two large dogs and by sticking her thumbnail in its eye.
“At the time I didn’t have many options,” she added. “It was either lie there and bleed out or get the hell out of there, so I left.”
Russian soldier Alexey Ivanovsky, 36, was reportedly “skinned alive” by a mother bear protecting her two cubs in October 2019.
Alexey was collecting crabs in the remote Kuril islands in eastern Russia when he was cornered by a “group” of brown bears including cubs in a pincer movement, according to reports.
It was an adult female that attacked him, clasping his leg in its teeth and clawing off his skin while trying to drag him away.
His horrific wounds included the skin on his scalp, back and buttocks being ripped away while one of his ears was also torn off.
Doctors had to amputate one of Alexey’s legs because of the severity of his injuries.
The Russian suffered clinical death immediately after the attack but was resuscitated and his ear was sewn back on.
He was flown 250 miles to regional capital Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk but died nine days later from a heart attack.
FACE RIPPED OFF
Paramedic Wes Perkins, from Alaska, is lucky to be alive after going out on a bear hunt with two pals.
The tables were turned though when an 8ft grizzly bear attacked, ripping Perkins’ entire face off.
The Anchorage Daily News reported: “There is no gentle way to describe his condition.
“Doctors had to use part of his fibula to create a jaw to replace what the bear ripped off of his face.
“He still has a tube in his throat. His left eye, which sees only light and dark, weeps constantly.
“And probably worst of all, for a man who always loved to talk, he is now hard to understand because he speaks with only half a tongue.”
Docs performed 26 operations on him to save his life and repair his face as much as they could.
Lee Brooke had the left-side of his body crushed following a grizzly bear attack in Wyoming in October 2016.
Brooke had gone out elk hunting with friends and having shot one they decided to return the next day to get the body.
While they were out searching for the remains Brooke became separated from his pals and eventually discovered the remains but found that a bear had got there first.
The bear immediately launched an attack, lifting Brooke off his feet and tearing into him.
The bear then rode on his back down a slope, crushing his body and started ripping off his face.
As Brooke lay bleeding, he could see his nose and mustache on the ground.
He tried to punch the bear but it then bit his arm.
Brooke eventually managed to scare the bear off by stabbing it four times with a steak knife he had in his pocket and scream for help.
Eventually he was taken to the Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, Colorado where he received specialist care.
The whole left side of his body was crushed, and he had bites and lacerations all over his body, according to Dr Lili Daniali, one of the medics who treated him. “The bear grabbed his face, bit it and ripped it off. It was a big bite.”
Norwegians Sebastian Plur Nilssen and Ludvig Fjeld had set out in July 2015 on a world-first attempt to kayak around Svalbard, an isolated archipelago between Norway and the North Pole.
The pair were forced to set up camp on the island of Nordaustlandet on July 22 due to bad weather.
The two men, who were experienced survivalists, put up their tents and set trip wires as a defence.
But they were rocked away in the early hours when a polar bear attacked their camp.
“Neither of us woke until the bear ripped into the canvas,” recalled Plur Nilssen. “It tore the whole front away with one punch. I started screaming to Ludvig, but the bear grabbed me and sank its teeth into my neck, dragging me out of my sleeping bag. He then bit my head really hard. I could feel his teeth going deep into the flesh, and I knew it was serious. It was sickeningly painful.”
During the attack the bear dragged Plur Nilssen 30m across the sand and rocks, leaving a trail of blood, where he then picked him up by his head and stood on its hind legs.
He was only saved by Fjeld managing to find his gun and shoot the bear dead.
Fjeld then called for help on his satellite phone.
Plur Nilssen had suffered deep tissue lacerations to his shoulder, back, neck, chest, and head.
Amber Kornak had just started her dream job in May 2018 as a Grizzly Bear Wildlife Technician for the US Fish and Wildlife Service when she was savagely mauled.
While collecting samples near a stream in Montana, a bear mauled Kornak from behind.
The beast tore into her skull.
She suffered two fractures and severe lacerations on her head, neck, and back, according to a GoFundMe page.
Fortunately, Kornak was able to fend off her attacker with a can of bear spray.
That wasn’t the end of her ordeal though as she then had to hike two miles to get to her work vehicle and then drive to get help.
She underwent a four-hour operation to “remove bone fragments and clean wounds to her brain” and had metal plates and screws inserted into her skull.
View more information: https://www.the-sun.com/news/3360938/worst-bear-attacks-world-horrific/