Bears rarely attack humans unless they feel threatened or territorial. But a 12-year-old girl jogging in Michigan is among the latest victims in a spate of bear attacks that have left seven people mauled in five states since Thursday.
Wildlife officials are running tests on a bear they killed to see if it's the same one that mauled Abby Wetherell on Thursday evening. The girl from Cadillac, Mich., was out on her nightly jog when she was ambushed by a black bear.
"I was thinking, 'This is it, I am a goner,'" Abby told ABC News.
She tried running from the bear but it caught her, dropped her to the ground, and scraped and clawed at her, she said. So she tried petting it, but "that did not work, so then it just got me again."
Then she played dead -- and the bear walked away.
The bear "came out of nowhere," her mother, Elizabeth Wetherell, told CNN affiliate WXMI.
She was injured severely, her mother said.
Authorities also reported attacks in Alaska, Colorado, Wyoming and Idaho.
The Michigan incident was an anomaly, officials said.
Michigan has an estimated black bear population of 8,000 to 10,000 but has only about two bear-to-human incidents a year, said Ed Golder with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources
"Black bears are generally fearful of humans and will usually leave if they become aware that people are present," the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said.
After the bear left, Abby ran toward a neighbor's house, screaming for help. The bear came after her once again, but neighbors were able to scare it away.
Abby suffered deep cuts in her thigh and underwent surgery. She is recovering at home.
On Saturday, conservation officers shot and killed a bear about two miles from where the attack took place. The state agency is testing DNA samples to see if it's the same bear and has also set up bear traps in hopes of catching the bear.
Bear attacks on the rise
Attacks by bears have risen as human populations have grown, according to a study published in the Journal of Wildlife Management in 2011.
The study found that between 1900 and 2009, 63 people were killed in 59 incidents in Canada and the United States.
"Each year there are millions of interactions between people and black bears with no injuries to people. So while the risk is low, it does exist," University of Calgary professor emeritus Stephen Herrero, one of the authors of the study, said at the time.
In 88 percent of cases, the bear was exhibiting predatory behavior; in 92 percent, the bears were males.
"The common belief that surprising a mother bear with cubs is the most dangerous kind of black bear encounter is inaccurate, the University of Calgary said in a summary of the study. "Instead, lone male black bears hunting people as a potential source of food are a greater cause of deadly maulings and related predatory attempts. The study also found that fatal attacks do not typically involve bears that are familiar with humans, although some fatal attacks did."
The study also found that bears that have previously killed people are more likely to attack again, traveling in a party of two people are more is safer, and human food and garbage attracts bears.
The study did not determine why population growth is correlated with more bear attacks. But Herrero said the suspicion is that more people are "pursuing recreational and commercial activities in black bear habitat."
But the study also found that fatalities are more common in Canada and Alaska, despite there being fewer people and less contact with bears than in the lower 48 U.S. states.
Other recent incidents include:
Alaska: Hunter mauled