A bear attack in Alaska has the National Park Service on high alert and on the lookout for a bear that will need to be put down.
The bear attack, which occurred in Denali National Park on Friday night, resulted in a hiker being injured on the Savage Alpine Trail, according to CNN.
The hiker, 28-year-old Fangyuan Zhou, was bitten and scratched by a small grizzly bear while with a group of friends on the trail. The bear was described as between the ages of 2 to 5.
More than 300 bears wander around Denali National Park, and many of the animals know that people can be found on the trails. However, most of the bears will stay away, especially if a lot of noise is heard.
The group of friends were hiking when they first encountered the bear, which they tried to avoid. The group tried to “play dead,” but then the bear charged them and injured Zhou. The bear walked away after the attack.
After the bear attack in the Alaska national park, the bear returned to the hikers. The group was able to chase the bear away when they threw rocks at it.
The young woman was treated for her injuries from the bear attack by Denali National Park staff, and afterward, she went to an Anchorage hospital on her own.
This was not the first time this bear was up to no good with humans in the park. Park rangers say that in the past two weeks, the bear charged groups of hikers and took food from a day pack as a distraction so hikers could escape from being attacked in the Alaska park, according to the Alaska Dispatch News.
The Alaska park officials were worried that the animal was associating humans with food, so they fired bean bag guns at the bear in the hopes that the grizzly would become wary of humans again. Officials didn’t see the bear for five days, and the park trails were reopened according to policy.
Then, on the same day that the woman was bitten by the bear, another group of ten hikers were able to scare off the charging bear by making lots of noises. Later that day, the small group of three hikers weren’t as lucky when they tried to stay quiet.
“The appropriate advice is to not play dead until either physical contact occurred or contact is really imminent,” Dave Schirokauer, the park’s acting deputy superintendent, said. “If I had a bear charging at me, I would not play dead until it was about one second from touching me. Most charges are bluffs.”
Now the park will have to hunt down the bear and kill it since it has not learned to avoid humans and has attacked a person.
“The erratic behavior of the bear over the past two weeks: approaching and charging several groups of hikers; biting and scratching a hiker; obtaining food from a hiker; and its general interest in people represents an unacceptable risk to safety in the highly visited front country of the park. Park staff will locate and kill the bear as soon as safely possible.”
While the park rangers search for the animal, Denali Park Road and all of its hiking trails in a four-mile stretch have been closed temporarily until the situation is resolved.
[Photo by Shutterstock]