Authorities are on the lookout for a black bear that attacked a couple after their dog antagonised the animal.
The pair were attacked by a black bear near the folk art center on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville, North Carolina, the US, where bears are actively preparing for winter hibernation.
Dogs are required to be on a leash on the park, according to the National Park Service website.
However when the couple’s pet was unleashed, the barking dog ran towards the bear, the park service said in a statement.
The couple suffered lacerations and scratches while their dog was unharmed, a spokeswoman for the park told the Asheville Citizen-Times newspaper.
The beast is said to have continued its attacks repeatedly as the couple fled to their car after the attack.
They then drove to a hospital where they were treated and released.
Officials have called the attack "bold and aggressive” and announced its decision to euthanize the bear if it is found.
This is based on the park’s and North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission protocols, which came into effect after a 2018 attack that injured a Swannanoa woman.
Though black bear attacks against humans are rare, with officials saying that the typically shy animals usually leave as soon as possible when acting defensively.
According to the commission, once a bear learn aggressive behavior, they will keep doing it and teach it to their cubs.
In Wednesday’s attack, the bear reacted defensively but did not retreat after, with the park saying ”there were repeated attacks by the bear while the couple retreated with their dog to the safety of their vehicle.”
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