An 84-year-old homeless man was treated for cuts to his face and left arm after he was mauled by a black bear while sleeping in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains late Tuesday, police said.
Sierra Madre police responded to a residential neighborhood in the 1200 block of Arno Drive where the man had run to get away from the bear shortly before 11:30 p.m., said Sgt. Charles Kamchamnan.
The man, whom authorities did not identify, told officers he was asleep in a sleeping bag in a secluded area near Chantry Flats when he was awakened by a bear that he estimated was between 200 and 300 pounds, Kamchamnan said.
“He believes the bear may have been playing with him, but when he tried to swat it away, it took a swipe at him,” Kamchamnan said.
The man told police the bear followed him out of the wilderness and into a nearby neighborhood, where the man sought help. He was treated by paramedics but refused to go to the hospital, authorities said.
The man told officers he has lived in the San Gabriel Mountains since 2002 and has come across wildlife before, but had never been attacked. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife responded to look for the bear and investigate the attack, Kamchamnan said.
“He was lucky,” he said. “It could have been much worse.”