A man in a bear costume is being sought by authorities in Alaska after harassing a female bear and her two cubs as they fished for salmon.
The man, wearing what was apparently a very “realistic” bear suit, was spotted last week as people gathered to watch bears fishing for salmon in the Chilkoot River near Haines in Alaska.
According to CBC, the salmon season runs from May to September and the bear family has been seen there on a regular basis. However, this particular time a man in a bear costume was also spotted and was apparently bothering the bear family.
According to biologist Mark Sogge, the man in a bear costume was running through the area, jumping up and down and was seen to come as close as five feet away from the cubs.
— Metro (@MetroUK) August 15, 2015
Sogge and his companions from the Alaska Fish and Game Department were on the scene to keep track of the number of salmon swimming upriver to their spawning grounds. However, he said dealing with bears, or indeed men in bear suits, isn’t really their job
“Our job is to count fish.”
As reported in the Aiken Standard, technician Lou Cenicola moved the mother bear and her cubs away to ensure his own safety and then attempted to talk to the man in a bear costume.
However, the man refused to give his name or say why he was doing what he was doing. He simply told Cenicola, “You have the license plate number. You figure it out,” before driving away from the scene, still wearing the suit.
Man in a head-to-toe bear suit was caught taunting real bears in Alaska. It’s not known why. http://t.co/ZUW2LF2gpD pic.twitter.com/eRInuLT9Oj
— Metro Odd Canada (@MetroOdd) August 14, 2015
Cenicola and Sogge have since handed the man’s license plate number to Alaska State Police, who are investigating and may, depending on their findings, charge the man for wildlife harassment.
Spokeswoman Megan Peters did say this isn’t the first time they’ve encountered a man in a bear costume. The video below shows the action when a man was arrested during the forest fair in Girdwood near Anchorage, which was filmed by the National Geographic reality show, Alaska State Troopers.
While the estimated 30,000 brown bears living in Alaska are considered to be a major tourist attraction, the animals can be dangerous when provoked and when someone threatens their cubs, which is exactly what the man in a bear costume was doing at the time.
The Inquisitr recently reported the story of a 20-year-old woman who was mauled by a brown bear while jogging in Alaska.
[Image: CC BY-ND 2.0 PRO Tambako The Jaguar]