Alaskan Grizzly Bear Will Be Killed After Attacking One Hiker and Charging Several Other Groups of Hikers, Officials Say

The bear has approached and charged several groups of hikers in recent weeks so "Park staff will locate and kill the bear as soon as safely possible," said the National Park Service

Photo: AP Photo/Jim Urquhart

Officials say a grizzly bear responsible for biting and scratching a hiker in Alaska’s Denali National Park – and charging several other groups of hikers – will be tracked down and killed.

The hiker, identified as 28-year-old Fangyuan Zhou, was walking along Savage Alpine Trail in the park on July 1 when she “encountered a small, subadult grizzly bear that bit and scratched her before fellow hikers were able to throw rocks and chase it off,” according to a press release issued by the National Park Service.

“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 it’s general interest in people represents an unacceptable risk to safety in the highly visited front country of the park,” they continued.

Zhou was with two fellow hikers when the bear confronted them. The group played dead when the animal attacked – a response the National Park Service does not encourage.

“While playing dead is an appropriate response when physical contact with a bear occurs or is imminent, playing dead prematurely can invoke a curiosity response from a bear. Park guidelines do not recommend playing dead prior to contact,” they suggest.

Instead, the Service encourages hikers to group together, wave their arms and make loud noises to scare bears away.

The bear responsible for the attack, identified by park staff and rangers, is known to be an aggressive animal that has been involved in several incidents lately.

On the same day it attacked Zhou, the bear also approached a group of 10 visitors, who scared it off by shouting and moving their arms. Previously, it had charged several hikers on the Savage trails, stolen food from park-goers, and attacked another hiker on June 22.

Park wildlife technicians have attempted to use “aversive conditioning techniques (bean bags) on the bear with the hope that it was young and impressionable enough to become wary of people.”

But the animal “represents an unacceptable risk to safety in the highly visited front country of the park,” says National Park Service.

Denali Park closed down miles of hiking trails after the incident. Park staff will “locate and kill the bear as soon as safely possible.”

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