Grizzly bear kills hunter in the first fatal mauling at America’s biggest park

Wrangell is America’s largest national park at more than 20,625 square miles

Josh Marcus
Wednesday 23 September 2020 23:07 BST
Grizzly bear mother and her cub (File pic)
Grizzly bear mother and her cub (File pic) (Getty Images)

A grizzly bear mauled and killed a hunter in an Alaskan national park on Sunday, the National Park Service confirmed, the first known mauling fatality in the park’s 40-year history.

The hunter’s identity, along with a more detailed description of the incident, is being withheld pending an investigation.

According to an NPS statement on Tuesday, the hunter was out exploring Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve as part of a 10-day moose with a friend. No-one else was injured.

Wrangell is America’s largest national park at more than 20,625 square miles, bigger than Yellowstone and Yosemite combined. Bear attacks are rare, but increasing.

Federal wildlife authorities urge hunters and anyone else exploring this kind of backcountry to be “Bear Aware.”

Bears tend to be shy around people, but can get aggressive if they perceive a threat to their young or their food, or are approached too closely. The US Forest Service recommends remaining calm, carrying bear spray, and storing food and other items in sealed, bear-safe containers.

The massive park is within the normal geographic range of grizzly bears in Alaska, but climate change is quickly altering their behavior. 

Scientists have found that drought and other climate change effects are altering how grizzly bears eat in Alaska.

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