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A marathon runner who was mauled by a bear in New Mexico on Saturday thought quickly, played dead and escaped injured, but alive. The female bear, which wildlife officials said was with her cubs when she was surprised by the runner, was captured and put to death.

New Mexico officials said they were “confident” they had the right bear, which wore a radio collar, and noted with regret that state law requires them to euthanize and test for rabies any wild animal that attacks or bites a person, no matter the circumstances.

The bear’s death was decried by some observers as an unjust sentence for an animal that may have been acting defensively. And it was the latest such killing to highlight the common reaction to most of the very rare attacks by wild animals on people in the United States: capital punishment for the animal, and sometimes even for uninvolved animals located nearby.

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Washington Post

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