Sep 21, 2015

Local grizzly attack survivor featured by National Geographic

A South Fork rancher who was mauled by a grizzly bear 2013 — and who holds no ill will toward the animal — was recently featured by National Geographic.

While irrigating in June 2013, Nic Patrick hurried to the sound of his dog being attacked. He’d expected to find the dog battling a raccoon, but instead came upon a grizzly sow and her two cubs.

The sow attacked in a matter of seconds, inflicting arm and leg injuries and severe damage to Patrick’s face that required extensive reconstructive surgery. He recounted the attack and the lessons he learned in a National Geographic video that was posted online last week.

“I was really disappointed that I had set this up, because it was totally on me. I should have read the signs ... instead of just rushing into it,” Patrick says in the video. “It really wasn’t the bear’s fault. She wasn’t doing anything but what any good mother would do.”

The video accompanies a written National Geographic piece about how and why grizzly attacks happen.

A screenshot of National Geographic's video featuring Nic Patrick.
“Survival rates for bear attacks are high,” reads the subheading for the Sept. 18 article. “And those who have been mauled are often forgiving.”

The article, by writer Todd Wilkinson, quotes researcher Tom Smith of Brigham Young University as saying the vast majority of bear attacks are avoidable, but “humans have to take more responsibility.”

In a November 2013 interview with the Powell Tribune, Patrick said he wanted someone to learn something from his grizzly encounter.

“No matter what you’re doing, pay attention,” he said.


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