A Canadian park ranger fought off and survived a grizzly bear attack — even after the animal chomped down on his head and ripped off part of his scalp.
Jordan Carbery, 50, was outside his home in Bella Coola, British Columbia, early last Tuesday when he noticed some bear cubs in a cherry tree.
One of them fell out and crashed to the ground — which caught the attention of its protective mama, who started charging toward Carbery.
“She had her eyes locked on me and she was coming for me,” Carbery told CTV News from his hospital bed.
“I instantly turned and tried to get back to the house. All of a sudden I just got tackled from behind and sent flying,” he said.
“It felt like two football players tackling me,” he added to Global News Canada.
The grizzly bear wrapped her jaws around Carbery’s head and picked him up with her mouth — which is when a piece of his scalp ripped and he fell to the ground, he said.
The relentless beast picked him up again, this time by his thigh, and dropped him to the ground, up and down, a few more times.
Carbery, a lifelong bear lover, had just gone through a defensive training class as a park ranger, and tried to use what he learned by kicking the bear in the face as hard as he could — before managing to push himself up and swing at her with his fist.
“I kicked her in the face three times at least,” Carbery recalled, “and then I tried to hit her in the face in the snout. She was like a prize boxer. She was so fast.”
He finally managed to create enough space between him and the bear and ran back 40 feet toward his house.
Since he didn’t have any cell service, Carbery was forced to drive himself to the hospital — and caught a glimpse of his injuries in the rear-view mirror.
“I was covered in blood,” he said. “I was mostly concerned with my abdomen because I thought she had split me open, I thought my guts were hanging out.”
Carbery made the 10-minute drive to the hospital with one arm over his belly, telling himself, “Don’t pass out. Don’t pass out.”
He was later transferred to Vancouver General Hospital and underwent surgery for an umbilical hernia, a condition where the intestine protrudes through the muscle at the belly button.
Carbery is now recovering and said he’s feeling “fan-freaking-tastic.”
“I’m so lucky to be alive,” he said.
On Facebook he joked: “Good thing I have such a thick skull.”
The Conservation Office Service said the bear would not be euthanized because she was just protecting her cubs and hasn’t posed any other public safety threats.
Carbery was happy to hear it: “I was so relieved that they weren’t going to destroy the bears,” he said, instead blaming himself.
“It was me dropping my guard in grizzly country, which you can never do. I did it because I was so close to my house. I learned a big lesson.”
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