Necropsy Released on Bear Attack on RU Student

A necropsy report on the black bear involved in the fatal attack on Rutgers student Darsh Patel last month in the Apshawa Preserve was released Oct. 7 by the state Department of Environmental Protection showing that it possessed human remains and clothing in its stomach and human blood on its claws and teeth.

Patel, 22, was Rutgers University student from Edison who was attacked and killed by a black bear on Sept. 21 in West Milford.
Patel was hiking in West Milford with four friends in the preserve when they realized they were being followed by a 300-pound black bear. Patel was a senior information and technology major at Rutgers School of Communications and Information, the school said in a statement.

According to a police report, the five friends were overcome with trepidation and fled in different directions. Upon regrouping, the hikers noticed one of their group members were missing. At approximately 3:45 p.m. the remaining hikers contacted authorities.
The West Milford Search and Rescue Team responded and located Patel’s body. The search-and-rescue team discovered the bear 35 yards away from Patel’s body and had it immediately euthanized.

Kelcey Burguess, a biologist and leader of the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, said in a public statement that the bear was likely to attack, and it was most likely searching for food and caught the scent of the hikers. They carried water and granola bars on them at the time.

Officials believe the hikers were inexperienced, which led to their decision to run from the bear. When encountering any form of bear, the safest course of action is to stand your ground, be silent, and wave your arms to indicate you are a human, officials said.

“Please know our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones and to all his friends and fellow students at Rutgers,” said Richard L. Edwards, chancellor at Rutgers in an announcement to the community of New Brunswick. “It is at heartbreaking moments like this that we must take special care to reach out with compassion and support.”