A cyclist lived to tell his tale after a bear attacked him while riding alone in Cantwell, Alaska.
Alaska Wildlife Troopers said in a news release they were notified of the incident last Tuesday. The victim said he was riding his bike when he spotted a large brown bear about 10 to 15 yards away sprinting toward him, the release said.
He told the troopers he jumped off his bike and “began yelling at the bear.”
Before the bear made contact, the victim lay on the ground and covered his head, possibly kicking the bear in the process. The bear then bit his leg below the knee.
“The bear made one contact and one bite, then immediately retreated into the vegetation the same way it approached,” the release said.
The cyclist called a friend for a ride and sought medical attention at the Healy Medical Clinic for puncture wounds and a cut.
The victim “believes the bear was alone and approximates the bears weight at 500lbs,” the release said.
Troopers said the man was carrying a firearm but did not fire it.
Several bear attacks this year
Though bear attacks are rare, this isn’t the first one in Alaska this year, or in the contiguous US.
In August, a solo hiker from Indiana was attacked in Denali National Park. The 55-year-old man was hiking alone in heavy fog when he was charged by a grizzly with two cubs nearby.
“He was able to deploy bear spray, but only after the bear had knocked him down,” the park’s statement said.
The man was taken to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and was last listed in stable condition with puncture wounds to the leg, ribs and shoulder.
A 39-year-old woman was found dead after an apparent bear attack in southern Colorado in May.
“The woman, a Durango resident, was believed to have gone walking with her two dogs earlier Friday according to information provided to the La Plata County Sheriff’s office by her boyfriend,” a Colorado Parks and Wildlife news release said.
“He started searching for her and discovered her body around 9:30 pm” off US Highway 550, north of Durango, and called 911, the release said. “CPW wildlife officers responded and observed signs of consumption on the body and an abundance of bear scat and hair at the scene.”
National Park officials warn to never hike alone in bear country and to never run away, always back away slowly and make yourself as big as possible.
“It’s rare for us to have a human and grizzly bear encounter that results in a fatality,” Greg Lemon, administrator of communications for Fish, Wildlife and Parks said after a woman was killed by a bear in Montana in July. “But it happens every year that people and bears have conflicts.”
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