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The attack marks the first known mauling fatality in the park since it was established 40 years ago.

J.D. Simkins  – September 24, 2020

A man was killed by a grizzly bear Sunday while on a 10-day moose hunt in Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, the National Park Service announced. (Hunting is allowed in this park.)

The attack marks the first known mauling fatality in the park since it was established 40 years ago.

A friend accompanying the deceased on the hunting trip—authorities are withholding the individual’s name pending an investigation—was reportedly unharmed.

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Alaska’s bear population is more active this time of year, as food storage becomes critical with months of hibernation around the corner.

Because of a bear’s potential for more aggressive behavior during this time, visitors in backcountry areas are, more than ever, encouraged to follow food disposal protocols and carry deterrents, such as bear spray.

Bears often vacate areas when noticing humans approaching, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, but in the event the bear becomes aware of a person’s presence, the following safety measures are recommended.

First, don’t run. Stay calm and speak in a quiet tone, while trying to make yourself look big. If the bear happens to approach out of curiosity, continue to follow those steps.

If the animal exhibits defensive behavior and makes physical contact, however, you should “lie face down and clasp your hands behind your neck,” ADF&G says.

“Protect your neck, stomach and face. Spread your legs and elbows for stability so the bear cannot roll you over….Do not struggle or make any noise until you are certain the bear has left. This may seem like an eternity, but you cannot risk being re-attacked. Even if it is departing, the bear could look back at you to see if the perceived danger is still active.”

Whatever you do, if you’re planning a trip into Alaska’s backcountry, go as prepared as possible. Start with reading more about proper survival techniques.


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