Bear attacks are some of the most dramatic examples of conflict between people and wildlife. However, the bear attack statistics reveal that such incidents are rare because these animals are going to lengths to avoid any contact with humans. Unfortunately, urban expansion has led to habitat loss, which is why some animals might resort to attacking people. They are trying to defend themselves, their young, and their territory.
The recent animal attacks on humans prove that it is our behavior that provokes the attacks. For example, humans have used bears as circus animals, which is a severe form of animal abuse and cruelty. It traumatizes the animal and causes it to lose trust in people, which results in unpleasant encounters. Are bears the most aggressive of all the animals out there? You’ll find out later in this article.
But first, let’s take a look at some of the crucial statistics on bear attacks and more.
The Top 10 Intriguing Bear Attack Statistics
- There were 664 bear attacks on people globally between 2000–2015.
- There are 40 bear attacks around the world every year.
- The number of bear attacks in California decreased by 99% between 1998–2019.
- There were only 2 fatal bear attacks on people on the Appalachian Trail between 2000–2016.
- Bears have fatally injured only 8 people since the establishment of the Yellowstone National Park in 1872.
- There haven’t been any fatal bear attacks in Glacier National Park since 1998, according to bear attack statistics.
- There were only 4 fatal bear attacks in Ontario, Canada, in the last 100 years as per 2014 statistics.
- There weren’t any wolf attacks on people in North America since 1998.
- On average, lions kill 22 people per year.
- Sharks are responsible for 6 human deaths every year.
If you are interested in learning more about how often and why bears and other animals attack people, keep reading.
Bear Attack Facts
1. There were 664 bear attacks globally between 2000–2015.
(Cowboy State Daily)
However, there is no reason to panic and demonize the entire bear species. They’re not even close to being labeled as the most dangerous animal in the world. More than 50% of these attacks involved a female bear with cubs. The mama bears were probably trying to protect their children, which resulted in the animal attacks, according to the statistics.
2. There are 40 bear attacks around the world every year.
(Cowboy State Daily, Nature)
On average, there are 19 bear attacks in the East (Russia, Turkey, and Iran), 18 in Europe, and 11 in North America, every year. Animal attacks on people are indeed a horrible thing. Still, very often, the media negatively frames them, which — according to the animal attack facts — hinders animal conservation and prevents the recovery of endangered species.
3. The number of bear attacks in California decreased by 99% between 1998–2019.
However, compared to 2018, which was the year with the lowest number of bear-related incidents, the number of conflicts has increased by 46%. Regardless, bears aren’t interested in people, but in the food people carry. The bear attack statistics for California reveal that the incidents usually occur when bears try to get food from campsites.
4. There were 24 human-bear incidents in the US Yosemite National Park, in 2018.
According to the data, there were more than 4 million visits to the Yosemite National Park in 2018 alone. Bear attacks in Yosemite have been decreasing throughout the years, probably because leaving food in Yosemite is illegal. According to the bear attack statistics, there were 165 incidents in 2014 and only 76 in 2015. Furthermore, there were only 38 human-bear incidents in both 2016 and 2017.
5. There were only 2 fatal black bear attacks on the Appalachian Trail from 2000–2016.
(Appalachian Trail Histories)
The American black bear is one of the most dangerous animals in the world. When it comes to the Appalachian Trail bear attacks, the statistics reveal that even though this enormous animal spreads fear among people, bear-human incidents — especially those that end fatally — are infrequent.
6. There were a total of 23 fatal black bear attacks in the US between 2000–2016.
(Appalachian Trail Histories)
It means that there’s roughly more than one deadly attack per year. Almost all of these attacks happened on mountain trails. According to the black bear attack statistics, the deceased were usually found near bears with cubs, which means that the animals were trying to defend their young.
7. Grizzly bears have injured 44 people in Yellowstone National Park since 1979.
The park has hosted more than 118 million people so far. Therefore, there’s a one in 2.7 million chance of a grizzly bear attacking a human in Yellowstone. When we make a comparison of black bear vs. grizzly bear attacks, it’s evident that the grizzlies attack fewer people, despite being much larger and more scary-looking.
8. Bears have fatally injured only 8 people since the establishment of the Yellowstone National Park in 1872.
Far more people died from causes other than bear attacks. Namely, 121 people drowned, and 21 died from burns after falling into a hot spring in Yellowstone National Park. The bear attack statistics also reveal that there were more cases of suicide (26) than bear attacks in the park. Furthermore, more park visitors died from a falling tree (7), an avalanche (6), and lightning (5) than a bear attack.
9. There haven’t been any fatal bear attacks in Glacier National Park since 1998, according to bear attack statistics.
(Smoky Bear Ranch)
Black bears and grizzly bears are one of the most common residents of Glacier National Park. And with millions of annual visitors, incidents are bound to happen. So far, there have been 10 fatal attacks in total, two in 1967 and eight between 1968–1998.
10. There were only 4 fatal bear attacks in Ontario, Canada, in the last 100 years as per 2014 statistics.
(Wise About Bears)
According to the bear attack statistics for Canada, the incidents are sporadic. Dogs accounted for more fatalities than bears between 1982–2012. During this time, 497 people died from dog attacks across the US and Canada.
11. Bears killed 25 people in North America between 1997–2017.
(Wide Open Spaces)
Most of these deaths occurred in British Columbia, while Quebec had the second-highest number of victims of bear attacks in Canada. The 2018 data also shows that the youngest victim was a five-month-old baby, while the oldest was 93 years old, meaning that the average age of the victims was 41.
12. There were 66 bear attacks in Alaska from 2000–2017.
During this period, bear-human incidents contributed to 68 hospitalizations, as the bear attack statistics for Alaska report. That averages to 3.8 admissions every year, while the average rate of bear attack hospitalizations is 8.6 per 10,000 hospitalizations annually.
13. There were 6 fatal bear attacks in Alaska from 2008–2018.
(ADN, Alaska DHSS)
The data reveals that three of these deaths have happened over just two years. However, during the period between 2000–2017, there were 10 fatalities from eight unique bear attacks, as the stats on bear attacks in Alaska from 2018 show. In addition to this, brown bears caused seven of these fatalities, while black bears caused three.
Furthermore, the data shows that one of these incidents included a bear with cubs. In 50% of the cases, the victims were alone. In the other 50% of the attacks, the victims were in groups of two, with one survivor in half of those cases.
Other Wild Animal Attacks: Statistics and Facts
14. Mosquitoes kill 750,000 people every year.
Mosquitos aren’t as big and scary-looking as bears, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous. Just because an animal is large or has sharp teeth and big claws doesn’t mean it’s deadly.
15. Mountain lion attack statistics report only 15 attacks in the US since 1890.
Mountain lion, cougar, and panther are all different names for the same animal. Mountain lions are very dangerous, but mostly to deer. They usually shy away from people. However, if a human crosses a cougar’s path while they’re hunting in the wilderness, there may be an incident.
16. Rabid bobcats attacked 2 people in Arizona, USA, in 2004.
Bobcats are known to attack and kill pets and smaller animals. When it comes to a bobcat attack on a human, the statistics show that it seldom happens. An attack may occur if the animal has rabies, which doesn’t happen very often. Bobcats present a more significant threat to livestock than people.
17. Moose injure 5–10 people in Alaska every year.
There are three times more moose in North America than bears. A moose can be as dangerous as a bear, but due to the sheer size of the animal, a moose attack, according to statistics, can be more dangerous than a bear attack. However, moose are not naturally aggressive. A moose won’t attack unless you provoke it, as most of the attacks happen during the mating season and in the case of a mother protecting its young.
18. Deer cause around 120 deaths in the US annually.
Deer kill more people than sharks, bears, and alligators combined. However, they don’t viciously attack people. According to the deer attack statistics, a vast majority of the deaths result from vehicle-deer collisions. The actual victims here are deer since humans are clearing their habitat to make space for roads and cities.
19. On average, hippos kill 3,000 people around the world every year.
However, hippos should not take the full blame. They’re vegetarian, so they don’t kill people for food, but because they are extremely territorial, especially the males. According to the hippo attack statistics, these animals attack or kill when they feel they need to protect their territory from intruders. Naturally, a female hippo will attack anyone who gets close to its calves.
20. There weren’t any wolf attacks on people in North America since 1998.
Wolves are another animal people fear. However, the wolf attack statistics show that there were only two wolf attacks. One happened in northern Saskatchewan in 2005 when a man died from injuries caused by the wolf attack. The other one occurred near a rural Alaskan community in 2010 when the victim’s body was found along a highway.
21. On average, lions kill 22 people per year.
(Science Alert, Smithsonian Magazine)
The lion is another animal labeled as a vicious predator. Lions killed 563 people in Tanzania from 1990–2005, as the lion attack statistics report. That’s not a small number. Lions attack to protect their territory or out of fear for their safety or the safety of their cubs.
22. Sharks are responsible for 6 human deaths every year.
Contrary to popular belief, these animals don’t kill many people. Shark attacks are pretty rare, with three deaths globally in 2014 and six in 2016.
23. How many bear attacks were there in 2018?
There were 6 fatal bear attacks in North America in 2018.
24. How many bear attacks were there in 2017?
There were two hospitalizations and two fatalities caused by bear attacks in Alaska in 2017.
25. What animal kills the most humans per year?
Mosquitoes kill the highest number of people every year by infecting them with malaria, dengue, West Nile virus, yellow fever, and Zika virus. However, since mosquitoes are technically insects, the animal that kills the most people is the homo sapiens. Every year, about 475,000 people die at the hand of another human being. The third most dangerous animal is the snake, which kills 50,000 people across the world every year.
26. What is the deadliest animal in the world?
Not only do the tsetse fly and the mosquito kill the most people, but they share the title of the deadliest animal on Earth. Tsetse flies are known for spreading the African sleeping sickness that causes neurological and meningoencephalitis symptoms like behavioral changes, poor coordination, and sleep disturbances. Mosquitoes carry viruses like Chikungunya, encephalitis, and elephantiasis.
27. What’s the most dangerous mammal?
Elephants are the largest mammals on the planet, and they kill between 100–500 people globally every year. However, mammals that kill by far the highest number of people are people themselves.
28. How many bear attacks occur in a year?
On average, there are 40 bear attacks around the world, with 11 strikes in North America, 18 in Europe, and 19 in the East — Iran, Turkey, and Russia.
29. How many people are killed by bears each year?
Out of the average 40 bear attacks per year, approximately 14% end fatally.
30. What are the odds of being attacked by a bear?
According to the National Park Service, the odds of being attacked by a bear are approximately one in 2.1 million, meaning that it’s more likely to be killed by a bee than a bear.
31. Which bears attack humans the most?
The most dangerous bear to humans is the grizzly bear, followed by the Polar bear and Eurasian brown bear, while the American black bear is the most dangerous bear in America.
32. Should you play dead with a bear?
Yes and no. If a brown bear or a grizzly attacks you, you should lay ﬂat on your stomach with your hands clasped behind your neck. Also, be sure to spread your legs to make it harder for the bear to turn you over, and remain still until the bear leaves the area, because fighting back usually increases the intensity of the attack. However, the animal attack statistics reveal that if the bear continues, you should fight back vigorously.
However, if a black bear attacks you, do not play dead! Try to escape, and if an escape is impossible, try to fight back with any object you can reach by hitting the bear in the face and muzzle.
33. How many deaths are caused by exotic animals a year?
Born Free USA, a nonprofit advocacy organization that strives to end the ownership of exotic animals, has started collecting data on wild animal ownership in 1990. They documented 75 human deaths caused by exotic pet attacks between 1990–2011.
The Bottom Line
While baby bears look cute and cuddly, the grown ones are quite scary. However, we hope that these bear attack statistics have shown you how rarely bears and other wild animals attack people. And while unprovoked attacks can happen, they are sporadic.
Bears feel the need to protect their young, just like us, and these are the main reasons for the attacks. Animals are more scared of people than people are afraid of them. And it’s natural for them to see us as predators because, after all, humans are the deadliest mammals in the world.