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Investigation Underway Into Fatal Bear Attack

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Grizzly Bear attack
August 26, 2012 07:31AM
Put the camera down and run!

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-08-25/grizzy-bear-maul-denali-alaska/57322384/1



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/26/2012 07:33AM by ERICG.
Re: Grizzly Bear attack
August 27, 2012 01:03AM
Quote
ERICG
Put the camera down and run!

Um, not exactly. Do not run! (Unless you really don't like the person you are with and you KNOW you are faster than that person.) Maybe not even necessary to put the camera down. But certainly back away. It is likely this guy went as close as he could to get pictures.

Especially in Denali where the bears do not have an almost unlimited amount of fish to eat like these grizzly bears I took pictures of...there is no way I would have taken this picture in Denali.

avatar Re: Grizzly Bear attack
August 27, 2012 10:21AM
Two follow-up newspaper articles provide more details about the attack and the victim:

“The grizzly bear that killed a lone backpacker Friday in Denali National Park appeared unaware a person was close for nearly the whole time the man was snapping pictures from maybe 40 yards away.

"Certainly too close," chief park ranger Pete Webster said Sunday...”


Anchorage Daily News: Hiker's camera offers clues to bear attack


and..


“Richard White had a zest for life and a penchant for hiking alone in remote places.

Both those attributes factored into his death this weekend when the San Diegan was attacked and killed by a grizzly bear in Alaska’s Denali National Park.

White, 49, was photographing the bear as it grazed peacefully...”


San Diego Union-Tribune: Grizzly bear kills San Diego man

.
avatar Grizzly Bear Attacks And Kills Backpacker
August 27, 2012 11:22AM
Denali National Park & Preserve (AK)
Grizzly Bear Attacks And Kills Backpacker

Richard White, 49, of San Diego, was killed by a grizzly bear on Friday while on a solo backpacking trip in the park. White had been in the Denali backcountry for three nights when he was killed. He may have recently hiked in other areas of Alaska prior to coming to the park, but it is not known at this time if he had previous backcountry experience in Denali. On Saturday afternoon, state troopers assisting rangers and park wildlife biologists shot and killed a bear that was defending the kill site along the Toklat River as the recovery team attempted to reach White’s remains. The bear killed was a large male bear. After determining the area was safe, a team of five rangers moved in to complete the field investigation. White’s remains were removed Saturday evening and will be sent to the medical examiner in Anchorage. The body of the dead bear was necropsied Saturday evening. The results of the necropsy, combined with the photographs taken by the victim prior to the attack, confirm that this was the animal that killed White. On Friday afternoon, three day hikers discovered an abandoned backpack and evidence of a violent struggle along the Toklat River approximately three miles south of the Toklat River rest area and immediately notified the park. Rangers launched a helicopter and an airplane from park headquarters that evening. At least one grizzly bear was still at the site, although there may have been multiple bears. The bear(s) moved away when the helicopter approached and landed. Two rangers on board the helicopter got out and confirmed the location of the victim’s remains. After a short time a bear returned to the cache site while the rangers were investigating the scene, forcing the rangers to retreat to the gravel bar. The bear then began to circle around them. Rangers fired two rifle shots at it, but the bear was not hit. The rangers were able to leave by helicopter as darkness was setting in. Evidence indicates that the attack occurred near the river’s open braided gravel bar and that the bear subsequently dragged the remains to a more secluded, brushy cache site. An emergency closure has been put in place prohibiting all backcountry hiking and camping in that backcountry unit and those adjacent to it until further notice. Although no park visitors were sighted or known to be in the immediate vicinity of the incident, park staff contacted three parties in adjacent areas and flew them via helicopter to the Toklat River rest area. This incident is the first known bear mauling fatality recorded in Denali. All backpackers in the park receive mandatory ‘Bear Aware’ training prior to receiving a backcountry permit, including a 30-minute safety video and a safety briefing from the backcountry ranger staff. Backpackers are also required to carry a bear resistant food container. More details on this fatal incident will be released as the investigation continues.
Re: Grizzly Bear Attacks And Kills Backpacker
August 27, 2012 11:43AM
It is unusual that the bear decided to use the body as a food source. Most bear/human kills are maulings where the bear is protecting a cub or another food source. If the bear had not fed on the human, and left him mauled, it is likely officials would not have killed the bear--especially if they were able to gather the same evidence apparently showing the hiker getting closer and closer and the bear not acting unusual. The bear using humans as a food source necessiated the killing. I'm baffled why a solo hiker would go into Denali without bear spray. It likely would have saved his life--and the bear's. It is a $50-60 item that isn't that heavy.
avatar Re: Grizzly Bear attack
August 27, 2012 06:42PM
I have to call into question why the NPS felt it necessary to exterminate a bear, whose habitat is within a remote wilderness area, an area 7X the size of Yosemite, who felt threatened by an individual who placed themselves within 150 yards of death? When an individual disregards prudent safety measures and information intended to protect not only themselves but also the wildlife we might as well extirpate the species so that we can tramp about without fear in one of the wildest domains left on the planet. I would no more swim with the growing seal population off the Chatham, MA coastline so that I could confront a great white shark then journey alone into the bears last domain. Apparently, evolution has failed some of us.



www.pbase.com/caesar77
avatar Re: Grizzly Bear attack
August 27, 2012 07:19PM
Sadly, problem bears, bears that usually become an a greater threat to human safety (compared to other bears) because of a careless or reckless action of some person(s), tend to get exterminated to lower the risk of not only the bear attacking a human again, but not letting that bear teach this agressive behavior to other bears.

As the old saying goes, “A fed bear is a dead bear.”

.
Re: Grizzly Bear attack
August 27, 2012 08:32PM
A few important points:

1. I too think it is sad they had to kill the bear. But after the bear fed on the hiker there was simply no way around it. Most bears will not feed on the human they maul or kill. They will move on. But sadly this bear decided to treat the human as food, took it to his food cache, and was feeding on it. At that point there was no way they could allow the bear to live because from then on he could view humans as food sources and actively hunt humans---which is very abnormal bear behavior (except for polar bears who will actively hunt humans).

2. Even though the land size is large this is a frequently backpacked area and they had to protect future backpackers.

3. I don't place blame on the hiker being solo. Even though that aspect does add considerable risk on this kind of trip it is still manageable. What is uncomprehensible to me is that the solo backpacker did not carry bear spray. As I noted earlier, bear spray likely would have saved his life--and the bear's.

4. Fortunately Alaskan bears are treated much differently than bears in the lower 48 and especially Yosemite. Bears have frequently mauled humans, occasionally killing them, and it does NOT mean a death sentence for that bear. If it is determined that the bear acted in what is considered normal bear behavior (fighting if startled, protecting a food cache (usually moose, caribou, etc.), or protecting its young, then they will typically not kill the bear. So attacking a human was not the issue, the tipping point in this case was the bear treating the human as food after the kill.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/28/2012 10:20AM by chicagocwright.
avatar Investigation Underway Into Fatal Bear Attack
September 01, 2012 12:16AM
Denali National Park & Preserve (AK)
Investigation Underway Into Fatal Bear Attack

Following two days of rain and poor weather conditions, rangers were able to return to the site of the fatal bear attack on Tuesday to continue the investigation of the incident. They were able to determine where Richard White of San Diego had taken the images that were found in his digital camera. The initial photos of the bear were shot at a distance of 75 yards from the bear, which at that time had its head down in the vegetation, browsing on berries. Other images, including the last five where the bear’s head was up, looking at and moving toward the backpacker, were taken at a distance of 60 yards. Most of the backcountry units that were closed as a result of the incident are now open. Unit 10, where the attack took place, will remain closed for the next few days for continued monitoring and investigation. The unit encompasses an area of almost 50 square miles.
Re: Grizzly Bear attack
September 01, 2012 08:01AM
I was in Denali the day after this occurred. It was strange because only the day before a waiter at a local restaurant, in an effort to allay any fear of bears, reminded my party that there had never been a serious bear-on-human attack in the entire history of the park. The next day, while taking a shuttle tour on the only road through the park, we noticed that a large swath of land that was closed to human foot traffic. My shuttle bus driver also became slightly unnerved when this guy came towards the shuttle and looked him in the eye...


Grizzly Bear, Denali National Park, Alaska by urbandispute, on Flickr
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