A California Vietnam Marine Corps veteran fought off a 250-pound black bear outside of his Mariposa County home last week. The battle left the Purple Heart recipient with several scars including on his wrist, face, neck and stomach.
“I could hear the crunching…when he bit down (on my wrist). He ripped towards my neck and then again the belly,” Larry Yepez, 66, recalled in an interview with CNN affiliate KGPE. He then started fighting with the bear, punching it and ultimately pushing it off with both of his legs.
One of the coolest,strongest & inspirational person I’ve met in a long time. 66y/o Larry Yepez survived bear mauling. pic.twitter.com/oNDm8vET56
— Connie Tran (@MissConnieTran) August 15, 2015
According to Fox News, Yepez’s little Yorkshire Terrier then started barking at the bear, which helped to create a distraction before the duo ran into the house. Yepez then drove himself to Mariposa Hospital, where he was treated for his injuries.
KGPE reports that wildlife officials plan to euthanize the bear when it’s found.
This past June, a bear attacked a woman and mauled her dog in Northern California. And just last week, residents of La Cañada Flintridge were essentially on lockdown for several hours after a bear came down from the mountains to cool off in a homeowner’s pool before munching on some pomegranates and heading on its way. There were no injuries associated with the visit.
California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife says there have been 12 black bear attacks in the Golden State since 1980.