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Michigan girl, 12, attacked by black bear

By Brendan O'Brien

(Reuters) - A 12-year-old Michigan girl was in stable condition in hospital on Friday after a black bear chased her down and clawed her, leaving her with deep lacerations to her thigh, the state's department of natural resources said on Friday.

Abby Wetherell was on foot on a road near her home in Wexford County at about 9 p.m. on Thursday when the black bear attacked her, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said.

"She began to run in hopes of reaching nearby homes," the department said in a statement. "Abby was able to get to her feet and ran again. The bear caught up with her and attacked a second time."

The department said a neighbor heard her screams and ran to her rescue, startling the bear, which ran off.

During the attack, the bear clawed her, causing deep lacerations to her thigh. Wetherell was airlifted to a hospital where she underwent surgery, according to the department.

Bear attacks often occur when a mother is protecting her cubs. According to the natural resources department, there is no evidence that cubs were present near the attack.

In an unrelated attack on Thursday, a grizzly bear wounded two hikers in Yellowstone National Park after they unexpectedly encountered the bear's new cub.

The same day, Idaho wildlife officials reported that two biologists collecting grizzly habitat data in the eastern part of the state were knocked down and injured by a charging grizzly after they startled it.

(Reporting By Brendan O'Brien, Editing by Tim Gaynor and Sandra Maler)