By Rachel D’oro, The Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Two more Alaskans were mauled by bears over the weekend, bringing the number of bear attacks in the state to four in less than a week, including two fatalities.
Alaska wildlife officials say they don’t know why there have been so many attacks in such a short time. But one official speculated Monday that perhaps bears are coming closer to people this year to follow available food sources such as moose.
Dave Battle, the state Fish and Game area biologist for the Anchorage region, also noted that more people also are spending time in the backcountry than they did in the past. But he cautioned that many factors could be involved.
“The long and short of it is that no one knows exactly what’s going on,” he said, noting that the number of bear encounters can vary widely from year to year.
On Saturday, two people were injured in separate brown bear attacks, one on military land in Anchorage and the other near the community of Hope south of Anchorage. Both of those cases involved a bear with a cub, indicating the animals were acting defensively to protect their young.
In the weekend attack on military land, bicyclists James Fredrick and Alex Ippoliti were on a recreational ride in the woods at the north end of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Saturday morning when they heard rustling in bushes and figured it might be a moose or porcupine, Ippoliti recalled Monday in a phone interview.
Suddenly, a brown bear charged at Fredrick and pulled him off the bike and began mauling him in the upper body, said Ippoliti, who was not injured in the attack. Fredrick was carrying bear deterrent spray and doused the bear, which ran into the bushes. It was only after that that he saw the cub …read more
Source:: The Denver Post