updated 8/31/2007 3:23:43 PM ET 2007-08-31T19:23:43

A backpacker fell prey to one of Southern California's lesser-known hazards: being gored by an American bison on Santa Catalina Island.

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Jardrec Anangos was recovering from a fractured pelvic bone, a sore back and an open wound after he was attacked Wednesday by one of the descendants of a bison herd brought over to film a silent movie in the 1920s.

"All I can say is I'm happy to be alive," he said.

Anangos, 24, of Cerritos, said he and two friends had backpacked into the island's Little Harbor to go snorkeling but saw a herd of about 15 bison blocking the path to the beach.

Anangos said he was about 20 feet away when he caught the eye of one animal.

The bison "didn't like me standing that close and charged me," he said.

He ran but "there was no real chance of me escaping," he said. "They're way faster than humans."

He was gored from behind in the upper thigh and lifted.

"I was pretty much on top of his head," he said.

The herd then moved away. Some nearby campers administered first aid until paramedics airlifted Anangos to the hospital.

Bob Rhein, a spokesman for the Catalina Island Conservancy, said he had not heard of a bison attacking a human in the three years he had worked for the agency, although he knows of previous bison attacks against dogs and even a horse.

"We don't like for anyone to get hurt, and we're very sorry that this happened," Rhein said. He added that the best advice for dealing with the island's roughly 200 bison is to stay away from them.

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