Sunday, August 26, 2012

Grizzly Bear Kills Man In Alaska's Denali National Park

At the Los Angeles Times, "Grizzly bear kills hiker in Denali National Park":
A hiker in Denali National Park has been killed by a grizzly bear, the first known fatal bear attack in the Alaska park's history, officials said Saturday.

The victim, whose identity was not released because his family has not been notified, was backpacking alone along the Toklat River when he spotted the bear, officials believe.

Photos recovered from the victim’s camera show that he stopped to take pictures of the animal for at least eight minutes before he was attacked, they said in a telephone conference with reporters Saturday.

Park Superintendent Paul Anderson said he believes the victim came within 50 yards of the grizzly before it went on the attack. He said the photos show the bear grazing in the willows and not acting aggressively.

Backpackers are told to stay at least a quarter mile from bears when in the park, he said. There have been various bear attacks in Denali over the years, though none have been fatal, officials said.

Park service workers were alerted to the attack Friday by three day hikers who saw an abandoned backpack, torn clothing and blood along the river, according to a park service statement.

Rangers found the body late Friday but could not recover it because the sun was fading and they believed multiple bears were nearby. When they returned in a helicopter Saturday afternoon, a grizzly bear was near the body. It was shot and killed by rangers from above.

It was the first time Anderson said he could recall in two decades that a bear was shot and killed in the park.
I'm sorry the man died, and I'll say a prayer for his family, but what purpose does it serve to kill the bear? He was in his natural element and behaved according to his natural instincts. And it's not like the bear was a domesticated animal with a continued risk if place back with a family. Any of the bears out there are a risk. You're hiking in freakin' Alaska, for chrisakes.