Sierra County Records First Fatal Bear Attack in State History

Officials with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed Thursday that the 2023 death of a 71-year-old Downieville resident was caused by a black bear. It is the first documented fatal bear attack in California history.

The CDFW’s announcement was based on the results of an autopsy. Initially, the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office believed the victim died before the bear entered her home. An examination of the body proved otherwise.

"It’s a big deal,” Steve Gonzalez, a CDFW spokesperson, said. “That doesn’t happen in California. Normally a bear is going to stay away from you, a bear that hasn’t been normalized to human behavior.”

The bear has already been located and euthanized, wildlife officials said.

See also:

What’s with all the recent bear sightings? CA wildlife officials weigh in.