Officials say a bear that attacked a 12-year-old girl near Cadillac earlier this month is not the same one that was shot two days later a couple of miles away.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources said Monday that DNA from the bear's carcass did not match fur and saliva samples taken from clothing that Abby Wetherell was wearing when she was attacked and mauled Aug. 15.
The tests showed that the bear that harmed Abby was a female, while the bear that was killed was a male.
Abby was jogging on a trail near her grandfather's cabin in a wooded area of Wexford County when the bear came after her. About 100 stitches were needed to close her wounds.
The DNR says the search for the bear continues.
Bear attacks on the rise
Attacks by bears have risen as human populations have grown, according to a study published in the Journal of Wildlife Management in 2011.
The study found that between 1900 and 2009, 63 people were killed in 59 incidents in Canada and the United States.
"Each year there are millions of interactions between people and black bears with no injuries to people. So while the risk is low, it does exist," University of Calgary professor emeritus Stephen Herrero, one of the authors of the study, said at the time.
In 88% of cases, the bear was exhibiting predatory behavior; in 92%, the bears were males.
"The common belief that surprising a mother bear with cubs is the most dangerous kind of black bear encounter is inaccurate, the University of Calgary said in a summary of the study. "Instead, lone male black bears hunting people as a potential source of food are a greater cause of deadly maulings and related predatory attempts. The study also found that fatal attacks do not typically involve bears that are familiar with humans, although some fatal attacks did."
The study also found that bears that have previously killed people are more likely to attack again, traveling in a party of two people or more is safer, and human food and garbage attracts bears.
The study did not determine why population growth is correlated with more bear attacks. But Herrero said the suspicion is that more people are "pursuing recreational and commercial activities in black bear habitat."
But the study also found that fatalities are more common in Canada and Alaska, despite there being fewer people and less contact with bears than in the lower 48 U.S. states.