how many bear attacks per year

How Many Bear Attacks Occur Each Year?

Do you want to know how many bear attacks per year and how dangerous bears can be to humans? Bear attacks have become quite common lately because more people go camping and hiking in areas where bears live. Many people who visit national parks also get attacked by the bears. The behavior of bears differs depending on the situation.

Most bears do not attack humans unless provoked or their territory is threatened. Bears may pound their paws on the ground and clack or yawn their teeth before attacking humans. These behaviors show that the bear is getting ready to charge. Bears may also bluff charges to intimidate or scare you. By understanding these warning signs, you can protect yourself against fatal bear attacks and save your lives.

Let’s find out how many bear attacks per year and how to avoid a Grizzly bear attack.

Some Most Interesting Facts on Bear Attack

  • Alaska is the US state that has witnessed the most bear attacks. Around one bear attack, death happens in Alaska every year. Alaska is one of the states in the country where you will find all three species of North American bears, including Polar Bears, Black Bears, and Grizzly Bears. Out of all fifty US states, Alaska has the highest number of bears, which increases the chances of bear attacks. Alaskans also live close to bears, especially when ice flow is low. This increases the chances of bear attacks and encounters.
  • Grizzly bears are the most dangerous animals in North America. They have a bite force of 975 PSI, making them one of the strongest animals in the world.
  • One of the most shocking facts is that 71% of Grizzly Bears die because of humans. Many times, due to natural causes, cubs are not able to make it to adulthood. Apart from this, the second common reason why most of the cubs die is because they get hit by a train. The little ones are not able to get off the tracks, leading to tragic accidents and deaths.
  • The sense of smell of bears is much better than that of humans. They smell a hundred times better than dogs. This is why when you hike in the backcountry, they can easily sense the smell of your trail mix and attack you unknowingly. A bear’s olfactory bulb is very big, like a balloon. It is five times the size of the olfactory lobe of humans.
  • A polar bear looks white, but underneath the fur, it has black skin. Their black skin is completely covered with fur, so they look white, but their skin is black. The reason why they have black skin is because black absorbs sunlight and heat much better than any other color.
  • Only the polar bear is known to be a carnivore. All other bears eat both meat and plants, meaning they are omnivores. The diet of polar bears mainly comprises bearded and ringed seals.
  • Some Most Interesting Facts on Bear Attack

  • Bears show their emotions like humans and grieve for others. It has been reported that cubs cry and moan if separated from their mothers. If the hunters kill their mothers, the cubs moan for weeks. Black bears express their pain, fear, pleasure, and anxiety with the help of a human-like voice.
  • Polar bears are the only bear species that are considered marine mammals. To survive the cold habitat, polar bears have many fine-tuned features. Their hind feet act as a rudder, and they can speed through the water at six miles per hour.
  • In the Southern Hemisphere, you’ll find only one bear species. This bear is commonly found in South America in the Andes Mountains and is known as the Andean bear. It ranges from western Bolivia to western Venezuela and northwest Argentina. These bears like eating plants and fruits and are vegetarian.
  • Pandas have special anatomical adaptations. They love munching on bamboo and spend up to twelve hours a day feeding. They love eating so much that each day, they consume twenty to forty pounds of plant material. They have an extra bone to feed on the leaves and stems. This extra bone is known as a “sesamoid,” which works like a thumb.

Bear Attack Statistics: Frequency and Fatality Worldwide

  • Every year, there are forty Bear attacks on humans worldwide. Out of this, 18.2 attacks happen every year in Europe, and 11.4 attacks are encountered in North America per year. This data is solely based on the research done over 15 years on grizzly bear attacks.
  • The polar bear attacks have increased recently as the Arctic has warmed up. Forty-seven polar bear attacks were reported between 1960 and 2009. However, there have been 15 polar bear attacks from 2010 to 2014. Most of these attacks occurred in December and July, which is the time when the Arctic sea ice is in the lowest amount. The warming planet has greatly affected the polar bears. Polar bears generally like to remain confined to their environment and rarely attack humans, but as the Arctic ice is shrinking, the frequency of their attacks is increasing.
  • In 2021, two high-profile black bear cases happened in California wherein the bears entered homes. The bears caused lots of destruction, but luckily, the owners were not there at their home at that time.
  • Since 1979, Yellowstone National Park has become the center point of grizzly bear attacks. During this time, grizzly bears attacked approximately 44 visitors in the park. The bears even brutally killed eight people.
  • People in North America hunt about 50,000 wild bears every year. This number can be even higher as we have not considered the illegally poached bears. Bears are poached by hunters as their claws and paws are used for making medicines.
  • Montana’s Glacier National Park, NW corner of Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, and Algonquin Provincial Park Ontario, Canada, are the hotspots of bear attacks in North America. All these national parks are home to a large number of bears.
  • The stats regarding how many bear attacks per year is 1 in 2.1 million visits to national parks. If you like camping at a roadside campground, this number can increase to 1 in 26.6 million.
  • Between 2000–2015, 664 brown bears attacked people worldwide. Ninety-five of these attacks were very fatal and caused lots of injuries. A few of the people even died in these horrific incidents.
  • Bear attack numbers have increased in the US in 2022. The main reasons behind these attacks are the continued encroachment of humans into the places where the bears live and a steady growth in the population of wild bears in the US.
  • Between 2000-2015, 11 fatal bear attacks happened in Romania. Romania has around 6,000 wild bear populations, and these numbers have increased lately, leading to an increase in the chances of wild bear attacks.
  • In 2020, 167 staggering incidents happened wherein wild bears attacked backyard chickens. The reason for these attacks is the increased bear numbers and low food supply. Chickens are a tasty snack for the bears, making these attacks frequent lately.
  • Since 1986, there haven’t been reports of fatal bear attacks in California. This is because California black bears, the most common bear species found in the state, are less aggressive than grizzly or brown bears toward humans.
  • In 2019, 22 bear attacks were encountered in the US Yosemite National Park. This number has decreased recently as the park authorities have implemented strict rules wherein it’s illegal to leave food in the national park.
  • As per the Appalachian Trail bear attack statistics, every 8-10 years, one fatal black bear attack happens. From 2000 to 2016, two confirmed fatal black bear attacks have happened on the Appalachian Trail. Although black bears live here in large numbers, their attack is uncommon.
  • Most bear attacks happen because the bears feel threatened or protected. Bears are shy, and they don’t like to engage in a conflict unless they feel there is no other option to deal with the situation. Bears don’t consider humans prey and show more interest in scraps or human food left behind by hikers and campers.
  • In North America, a three-year study was conducted on 92 bear attacks. The study revealed that half of these attacks involved a dog. When dogs chase a bear, the bear gets provoked, and it responds with aggression.
  • If you want to know how many grizzly bear deaths per year, then here is a statistic that will leave you shocked. Between 2000–2015, grizzly bears led to the death of 24 humans. This shows that grizzly bears and human conflicts are increasing day by day.
  • In 2020, 20 bear attacks were reported in North America. Five of these attacks were made by black bears. Compared to previous years, there has been an increase in the number of bear attacks in North America.
  • From 2008–2018, six fatal bear attacks happened in Alaska. Brown and black bears mainly caused these attacks. Three people even died in these attacks.
  • Since 1998, Glacier National Park has not encountered any fatal bear attacks. In 1967, two fatal attacks were reported, and between 1968 and 1998, eight bear attacks happened in the park.

How Frequent Are Bear Attacks?

How Frequent Are Bear Attacks?

The chances of bear attacks are one in 2.1 million. Forty bear attacks are reported every year worldwide. On average, 19 bear attacks happen in the East (Iran, Russia, and Turkey), 11 in North America, and 18 in Europe yearly. Polar bears, brown bears, grizzly bears, and black bears were attributed to most of these attacks. They’ve killed campers, cabin-goers, and joggers, as well as children, miners, and researchers. In the winter months, the bear attacks are less as it is the hibernation period for the bears.

Why Do Bears Attack Humans?

  • One of the prime reasons a bear would attack humans is to protect its cub. Bears with cubs are ferocious and can go to any extent to keep their cubs safe. If the bears feel that the humans are a threat to their cubs, they might attack and even kill humans.
  • Bears are attracted to pet food, garbage, or anything that seems like a meal. When food is less, they may enter people’s backyards or attack the hikers and capers to grab their food.
  • Bears also attack when humans invade their space. If they sense any danger or get intimidated by the presence of the humans, they most likely attack in self-defense.
  • Injured bears are very aggressive and dangerous, and they may attack humans and kill them.

How Can You Avoid a Grizzly Bear Attack?

Now that you know how many grizzly bear attacks per year, let’s try to find out the ways to avoid these attacks.

  • If you’re camping or hiking in a bear country, you must research the recent bear attacks that have happened in the area where you’re planning to go. Learn about the terrains bears prefer for sleeping and eating, and keep a check on boulders, tall bushes, or other natural landforms where grizzly bears could hide.
  • Making noise is one of the best ways to avoid grizzly bear attacks, especially near rivers, creeks, and bushy areas. If the bears hear you from a distance, they won’t attack you.
  • Bears are more likely to smell and hear a group of hikers. When you travel in groups, bears most likely won’t attack you as they get intimidated by the presence of many people. Also, when you travel in a group, it’s easy to keep an eye on the trail and detect any danger. In the backcountry, you should avoid trail running as it may provoke the grizzly bear to attack you.
  • When you’re visiting a bear country, carry bear spray. Bear spray can be a savior in bear attacks as it inflames the upper respiratory system and eyes of the grizzly bears. If used properly, it acts as an effective deterrent during a bear attack. If a bear charges, you must be quick and flick off the safety clip of the spray. When the grizzly bear is 30 to 60 feet away, depress the nozzle for effective bear spray deployment.
  • Grizzlies are very active at dusk and dawn, so avoid hiking. You need to be very cautious if you are hiking or camping in early spring in grizzly territory, as this is the time when these nasty creatures wake from hibernation and are in search of food after a long winter. Avoid being around the grizzly bears during this period.
  • Never go near the cubs of the grizzly bears. Grizzly bears can do anything to protect their babies, and if they see you near their cubs, they will consider you a danger to their babies and attack you.


Bear attacks have increased lately because of wildfires and deforestation, which drive these animals out of their homes. The chances of bear attack also increase if you go for recreational activities in areas where the bears are present in large amounts. The number of bears is also increasing in a few countries rapidly because they no longer live in the wilderness and remote high countries but have moved into the prairies and valleys to reclaim their old homes.

This has further increased the human and bear conflicts. If you want to avoid bear attacks, you’ll have to stay away from their territory and ensure that when you visit national parks, you don’t leave food at different sites as the bears get attracted to human food.

Always try to travel in groups and avoid going near the bears’ cubs to reduce the chances of bear attacks.

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