Black bear eats body of Californian man: reports

The Louisiana black bear, a subspecies of black bear like the one seen here, lives in certain areas of the American south (AFP Photo/Mark Ralston)

Los Angeles (AFP) - A wild black bear dragged away and ate the body of a Californian man who had died of a suspected heart attack, news reports said.

The bear is thought to have come across the body of 65-year-old Marion Lee Williams near his trailer in California's densely-forested and mountainous Humboldt County, the Los Angeles Times said Friday.

"It looks like he collapsed and died," CBS quoted county deputy coroner Roy Horton as saying. "The bear comes along and sees a potential food source."

The animal dragged his body into a cave to feast on, the newspaper said.

Williams, who lived alone and "off the grid," was last seen on October 8 and authorities discovered his remains on Monday, CBS reported.

Investigators used Williams' fingerprints, dentures and pieces of clothing to identify him.

He is believed to have died at some point in the past week, the LA Times said.

"The bear does not pose a public threat," the paper quoted Andrew Hughan, spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, as saying.

"It was just doing what bears do."

Officials tried to trap and kill the bear but called off their attempt because it appeared doubtful the bear was still in the area of the man's home in Redway, CBS said.

Last month a black bear killed a 22-year-old hiker walking with friends in the woods just an hour's drive from New York.

It was the first fatal bear attack in New Jersey since 1852.