Safari Tour Guide Sues After Bear Allegedly Nearly Kills Her While Performing a Trick

A Pennsylvania woman who was attacked by a Himalayan black bear when it was performing a trick is suing her former employer for not training her properly and alleged that the bear's cage was improperly constructed, thereby putting employees at risk.

In 2019, Megan Alborg, 24, was working as a safari tour guide at the Nemacolin resort in Pennsylvania and was instructed to get a high five from a bear named Kooter, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Instead of performing the trick and taking the marshmallow that was intended as a reward, Alborg's lawsuit claims the bear grabbed her arm through the opening of the cage and mauled her.

Alborg had to be flown to a local hospital in critical condition. The president of the resort, Maggie Hardy Knox, said in a statement after the incident that Nemacolin "deeply regret[s]" the incident. Four guests were on the tour Alborg was leading and her lawsuit claims that she would have likely died had a guest not been a trauma nurse who knew how to create a makeshift tourniquet.

black bear pennsylvania attack megan alborg
Megan Alborg, 24, is suing her former employer after she was attacked by a Himalayan black bear who was supposed to be performing a trick during a tour. In a picture taken on October 16, 2009, a tourist watches a Himalayan black bear as it strolls in Dachigam National Park in India. Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images

"Megan's arm was horrifically gashed and torn apart, and she suffered severe blood loss," the lawsuit says, according to the Tribune-Review.

Alborg had to have her right thumb amputated and has undergone 15 surgical procedures on her arm, including multiple skin grafts.

Himalayan black bears can weigh up to 440 pounds before hibernation, according to Bear Conservation, a non-profit organization that advocates and campaigns for the welfare, conservation and protection of bears. They're considered more aggressive than bears in North America and Alborg's complaint alleged that the resort should have known about the danger the animal posed to employees.

She also alleged that the employees were not in a position to be performing tricks with the bear, who had been at the resort for nine years.

Newsweek reached out to the Nemacolin Wildlife Adventure for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

The bears were being kept in a three-fence enclosure that allows guests to walk around by themselves if they're on the outside of the third fence, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Guests who pay for the "Safari Tour" are permitted inside a space between the second and third fences; Alborg was in between the first and second fences when the attack took place. After the attack, the Pennsylvania Game Commission visited the resort, according to the Post-Gazette, but didn't immediately put the animal down.