Jogger in Leavenworth jumps into river after being approached by black bear

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An adult male jogger in Leavenworth’s Enchantment Park had to jump into the Wenatchee River Wednesday night to escape a black bear.

Captain Mike Jewell of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police said the bear was with its cub when the encounter took place about 9 p.m. near Blackbird Island.

“He came around a blind corner in the trail and encountered a black bear with a cub,” Jewell said. “The cub ran off and the black bear started approaching the jogger, so he ran and he didn’t have a lot of options on where to go, so … he did jump into the river.”

The bear did not follow him into the river but stayed in the area.

Fish and Wildlife officers are out today after being unable to locate the bear last night, Jewell said. What will be done if they find it has not yet been determined.

“We want to remove her from the park,” Jewell said. “We haven’t made a determination yet exactly what we’re going to do. It depends on a variety of factors. It depends on what the conditions of the cubs are and whether we believe we can successfully relocate her. That may not be an option.”

The safety of people in and around the park is the priority, he said.

Initially, the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office responded to the call and escorted the jogger out of the area. Deputies reported that though they could not see the bear, they could hear it.

Fish and Wildlife officers arrived after dark and could not find the bear. They worked with the park to post warning signs, Jewell said.

Residents urged to remove attractants

Jewell urges Leavenworth residents to do what they can to avoid attracting bears into the city.

“Bears in Leavenworth are nothing new. We get calls about them in town fairly frequently and part of the reason for that is, yes, Leavenworth is surrounded by bear habitat. But we have a lot of problems with residents leaving attractants out that draw bears into town, like garbage cans that aren’t bear-proof, bird feeders and there are a lot of businesses that have dumpsters that aren’t bear-proof. If we could get residents and the community to remove those attractants and secure their garbage, so hopefully we could solve this problem a little easier.”

It was the second wildlife encounter in Leavenworth in the last week.

A 4-year-old boy was attacked by a cougar Saturday evening, also at Enchantment Park. The boy was not seriously injured.

Fish and wildlife later found and killed the cougar.