Search icon


08th Aug 2023

Student took chilling photo of bear before being mauled to death by it

Charlie Herbert

Student took chilling photo of bear before being mauled to death by it

Warning: contains some details readers may find upsetting

A student took a picture of a black bear just moments before the animal mauled him to death.

Back in 2014, 22-year-old Rutgers University student Darsh Patel was hiking with four friends in the Apshawa Preserve in West Milford, New Jersey.

During their hike, the group noticed they were being followed by a 300-pound bear, and as the animal got closer to them, Patel got his phone out to take a picture.

After he took the photo though, the bear ran towards Patel and his friends. Local media reported at the time that the group ran in separate directions when the bear was about 15ft from them.

The black bear was roughly 100ft from the group when Patel took a photo of it (West Milford Police Department)

Patel’s friends said they last saw him climbing a rock formation with the bear close behind him. As the bear followed him, he shouted at his friends to continue running away.

Once the friends managed to regroup, they realised Patel was missing and called the police.

Two hours later, police found Patel’s body with the bear nearby, which they shot dead. Patel’s phone, which police recovered from the scene, is said to have had a bite mark on it from the bear’s teeth.

West Milford police later released five photos from the student’s phone which showed the bear standing just 100ft from the hiker. Police said the animal in the picture was the same one that killed Patel.

Patel took five pictures which police later released when they recovered his phone (West Milford Police)

A necropsy on the bear found it had ingested human body parts and bits of clothing.

Officials said at the time they didn’t have any reason to believe the group had in any way provoked the bear. However, they added that a better way to deal with the situation would have been to move slowly and avoid eye contact with the animal rather than running.

Patel was the first person to have died from a bear attack in New Jersey.

In a statement following his passing, Rutgers University chancellor Richard Edwards said: “As we grieve over his tragic passing, please know that our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones, and to all his friends and fellow students at Rutgers.”

Related links:

Man who took ‘most viewed photo ever’ says he ‘just happened to be there at the right moment’

‘Human bear’ at Chinese zoo is seen waving in new video

Horrific story of man and girlfriend eaten alive by grizzly bear while filming entire ordeal