Black Bear Attacks Runner At Valles Caldera

VCNP News:

JEMEZ SPRINGS — Saturday, June 18, in midafternoon, a participant in a permitted running event on Valles Caldera National Preserve was attacked by a female American black bear when the individual came upon the bear’s cubs along a backcountry road being used as the event route. 

The incident occurred in the southwest corner of the preserve, known as Banco Bonito, approximately seven miles away from the Valle Grande. The runner was part of a marathon event being conducted on the preserve under a special use permit.

The individual was found by another runner, and aid was dispatched to their location. The injured runner was evacuated by medical helicopter and taken to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque for treatment, and is expected to recover from her injuries. 

Pursuant to New Mexico State law, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) dispatched officers to the area to conduct an investigation and attempt to locate the bear and euthanize it in order to test for rabies. Further questions regarding NMDGF operations should be referred to Lance Cherry,, 505.476.8003.

“Our deepest thoughts and sympathies are with the individual during their recovery from the injuries,” VCNP Superintendent Jorge Silva-Bañuelos said.

About Valles Caldera National Preserve

About 1.25 million years ago, a spectacular volcanic eruption created the approximately 13-mile wide circular depression now known as the Valles Caldera. The preserve is known for its huge mountain meadows, abundant wildlife, and meandering streams. The area also preserves the homeland of ancestral native peoples and embraces a rich ranching history. Visit us at

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