20 June 2017

Two in two days: "Really odd"

‘Really odd’: 2 fatal maulings in 2 days by Alaska black bears

A sign alerts park users that the Bird Ridge trail is closed, Monday June 19, 2017. (Marc Lester / Alaska Dispatch News)

Patrick Cooper died Sunday as the 16-year-old came down Bird Ridge near Anchorage following a mountain race, the victim of an unusual fatal attack involving a black bear.

A day later, a Pogo Mine contract employee in the Interior was killed — also by a black bear.
Experts say fatal maulings by black bears in Alaska are rare.
Until the past few days, only six deaths had been linked to black bears in 130 years, according to a biologist compiling a report on Alaska bear attacks since 1880.
The sequence of events leading to Cooper's death is unknown beyond a text message he sent to a relative, saying he was being chased by a bear as he descended after finishing the 1.5-mile juniors division course of the Robert Spurr Memorial Hill Climb.
A state park ranger shot a black bear found near Cooper's body but the animal ran off.
Little information was available Monday about the attack on the Pogo contractor that left a second contract employee injured.
If black bears are found responsible for both deaths, it represents only the second time in recent history that black bears have killed someone in Alaska.
The last was Robert Weaver, a 64-year-old Fairbanks man who died following a black bear attack at his cabin near Delta Junction in 2013.
Black bears accounted for just 10 percent of bear attacks in Alaska dating back to 1880, according to reports compiled by two biologists working separately.
"The black bear — that's really odd," said Tom Smith, an associate professor at Brigham Young University who's studied bears since he worked as a biologist at Katmai National Park in 1992.


Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

That is unusual almost anywhere, Reverend. You do not hear about many bear strikes here in the lower 48.

LindaG said...

Throw wood or rocks at a predatory bear. Seems like throwing some lead would be the better course.

Condolences to both families. May God comfort them.

You all be safe up there, Reverend.

Rev. Paul said...

We have several each year, TB. The unusual part is that it's black bears, instead of grizzlies.

Linda, the namby-pamby 'feel-gooder/bears are our misunderstood friends" crowd wants us to throw rocks, shout, ring bells, or use bear spray. What bears respect is several large-caliber shots to the head.

drjim said...

When my Boeing friends were on TDY at Fort Greely installing Really Neat Stuff, they were told that *IF* they went off site to go fishing, it was highly recommended that they take AT LEAST a 44 Magnum handgun for "Bear Repellant". A 12 gauge shotgun with slugs was better, but the 44 Mag was the minimum.

threecollie said...

These stories played here in our area and I cringed at the comments on them. Not only do people have no clue about dangerous animals, they have no sympathy for the bereaved families. I try not to get angry with them, but it isn't easy.

Rev. Paul said...

Jim, that's correct, and I've heard the same comment here ever since we arrived.

threecollie, I understand. There are always those who behave that way, but there's still enough sense in the Alaskan community to shut them up.