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Clinton cyclist survives bite on butt after dogs help drive off black bear

July 18th, 2007, 12:55 PM
Clinton cyclist survives bite on butt after dogs help drive off black bear
Article in today's Vancouver Sun

He was on his daily bike ride around 11 a. m. Monday with the collies, Tippy and Chuckie, when he encountered the unusually aggressive bear on one of the walking trails above Clinton, a town of about 740 residents on the Cariboo Highway 380 km northeast of Vancouver.
Protected only by a pair of shorts, his bike and his dogs, Klopp heard a sudden “ whoosh” from the bushes.
He turned to see a bear rushing toward him; a conservation officer told him later it was probably a year- old male black bear, weighing around 90 kilograms.
“ I didn’t have any time to think,” he said.
Running on adrenalin, Klopp jumped off his bike in front of a tree stump. “ Instinct takes over and you do what you can,” he said.
“ I don’t know why I got off my bike, but I did. I held my bike up as a shield in front of me.”
Klopp thrust his bike at the bear, but the animal didn’t stop.
“ It happened so fast. He came at me about four or five times. All of a sudden he went through the bike and knocked me on my butt. I was lying face down and I heard the bear going by me when he nipped me right on the butt.”
Klopp believes he owes his life to his collies, which protected him and chased down the bear.
“ They were right on him. And they chased him far enough for me to get back on my bike. I was pedalling pretty fast, but he was chasing me. When I got close to my truck I lost sight of the bear.”
Tippy, the younger dog, had to get four stitches after the bear bit him in the chest.
Klopp visited the town nurse after the attack because he was worried about infection. He got a tetanus shot and some penicillin at a hospital in 100 Mile House, about 70 km away.
“ I’m lucky that I got off basically unscathed,” Klopp said. “ I’m stiff and sore, but I’m not on painkillers or anything.
“ I wasn’t scared at the time. It’s not until I got home that I realized how scary it was.”
Black bear attacks are extremely rare because they are typically not aggressive creatures, said Robert Cobo of the North Shore Black Bear Network. But because Klopp was riding a bicycle, he may have violated the bear’s comfort zone.
“ When you’re biking, you’re travelling at a higher speed so the noise is reduced and the bear doesn’t have a chance to hear your approach, which increases the chance of aggression.”
Klopp figures he was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time.
“ I won’t change my lifestyle,” he said, “ but I’m going to be more aware.”
He plans to keep biking with his dogs, but said he’s going to stay away from the trails for a while — and invest in some bear spray.

July 19th, 2007, 10:33 AM
He and his dogs are lucky to be alive. Once again, doggies to the rescue.