ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A second fatal mauling by a black bear was reported nearly 300 miles northeast of Anchorage, authorities said Monday.
Officials with an underground gold mine reported a contract employee hired to take geological samples was killed and another injured in a black bear attack.
No names have been released. Alaska State Troopers and federal mine officials are investigating the mauling at Pogo Mine.
Matt Wedeking, division operations manager with Alaska State Parks, said the bear’s predatory behavior was not normal. Asked if there were cubs around this black bear, he said, “We don’t know. There could have been. But right now I don’t have any information about the bear.”
Earlier, a 16-year-old Anchorage boy taking part in an extreme race got lost and was killed by a black bear on Sunday.
It took a couple hours for responders to locate the teen, whose body was found about a mile up the path, at about 1,500 vertical feet. The bear was found at the site, guarding the body.
A Chugach State Park ranger shot the 250-pound bear in the face, but the animal ran away.
Alaska State Troopers said the boy’s remains were airlifted from the scene on Sunday.
State park staffers were scouring the area Monday looking for the bear, state Fish and Game spokesman Ken Marsh said. Sunday’s attack was believed to have been a rare predatory move, not a defensive action such as when a female bear will protect her cubs, he said.
“It’s very unusual,” Marsh said of the mauling. “It’s sort of like someone being struck by lightning.”
The last fatal mauling in the state occurred near Delta Junction in Alaska’s interior in 2013, when a man was killed by a male black bear, Marsh said. The last fatal bear attack in the greater Anchorage area was in 1995, when two people were killed in the Turnagain Arm area by a brown bear protecting a moose carcass, he said.
Last week, a juvenile and two young adults sustained minor injuries when a female brown bear with two cubs attacked them. Authorities shot at that bear, but it ran off.