Bear attacks and kills hiker in New Jersey

Black bear kills university student hiking in nature reserve

Updated: 
Bear attacks and kills hiker in New Jersey

A black bear has attacked and killed a hiker in a New Jersey nature preserve.

Darsh Patel, 22, a Rutgers University student, was hiking with four friends on Sunday when the group encountered the bear at the Apshawa Preserve, just 35 miles from Manhattan.

The group became scared and ran in different directions before regrouping to find Darsh missing, reports the NY Post.

They called the police and a search team found his body two hours later.

The 300lb male bear was hovering around 40 yards away and would not leave when officers tried to scare it away.

West Milford Police Chief Tim Storbeck told the NY Daily News: "There was a bear that was circling the area that would not leave the victim.

"The search-and-rescue team that had been back there was clapping their hands, trying to make noises ... trying to scare it off, but it never really left."

The four-year-old bear was euthanised with to shots from a rifle at the scene.

Up to 2,400 bears live in the forests of northern New Jersey and, although the state has one of the highest black bear densities in the US, this is the first fatal attack since 1852.

According to the BBC, Kelcey Burguess, leader of the state's black bear project, said it is possible the bear was predisposed to attack but more likely that it was looking for food, as wildlife officials believe there is a shortage of acorns and berries.

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