Catalina Island

Chris Baker, CEO of American Conservation Experience, Injured by a Bison While Doing Field Work on Catalina Island

Chris Baker story

On Wednesday, August 26, 2015, American Conservation Experience (ACE), President and CEO Chris Baker was injured by a Bison while doing GPS-mapping for a bid he is producing for the Catalina Island Conservancy to create a new trail system for the island.

As reported in many newspapers and on air, Baker was not taking photos of the bison when when the attack occured.The bison encounter occured as Baker was walking down a trail, when he turned a corner a bison was directly in his path. He tried to slowly move away from the animal when it charged him and gored him in the chest. Fortunately, Baker was able to walk approximately a quarter mile down the trail in attempt to seek help when three off-duty firefighters/paramedics found him and were the first to respond to his injuries. A local lifeguard was also on scene. They immediately called 911. The Los Angeles County Sherriff’s office responded and Baker was airlifted off the island and taken to Harbor UCLA Medical Center.

Mr. Baker sustained moderate injuries and is currently recovering and doing well. The Orange County Register reports that Baker suffered a punctured lung and was in surgery that Wednesday evening, August 26.

Chris would like to publicly express his appreciation for the Firefighters/EMT’s, Nathan Norris, Arnold Pane and Jay Williams for their rapid response and immediate aid, as well as the Catalina lifeguard and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office for assisting.

ACE has been in partnership with the Catalina Island Conservancy since 2008 working with the CIC to provide various conservation and education programs to young adults in a service-learning environment. ACE has had a great safety record while working on the island and will continue to work with CIC to foster a love of the natural environment through our continued partnership promoting education and service learning experiences.

“We wish Chris a rapid recovery, and know he’s getting the best of medical care,” said a Catalina Island Conservancy representative. “Incidents like this are extremely rare and we would like to remind visitors to Catalina Island’s scenic trails that bison are large, free ranging animals that can move very quickly.”

ACE is grounded in the philosophy that cooperative labor on meaningful conservation projects fosters cross cultural understanding and operates in the belief that challenging volunteer service unites people of all backgrounds in common cause.