Practicing Safety is Key in Bear Country
Howard Meyer is recovering after being mauled by a bear
ANCHORAGE - As local residents are aware, a portion of Anchorage is bear country. Biologists say there are healthy populations of both black and brown bears.
It's a fact known all too well by Eagle River resident Howard Meyer, who is recovering Monday night from claw and bite wounds at a local hospital.
Meyer was attacked Saturday evening, a half-mile from his home on Mariah Drive, which neighbors Chugach State Park.
Wildlife experts said it was a classic defense attack on the 57-year-old.
"In this case the gentleman was traveling off the trail in relatively thick brush, and he was making some noise, but he did unfortunately startle a brown bear, and it responded defensively by charging and slapping him around a little bit,” said Jessy Coltrane, Wildlife Biologist with the Department of Fish and Game.
Brown bears can be found anywhere in Chugach State Park, Bicentennial Park and Kincaid. They will also be making appearances along local creeks when the salmon are running.
If you do encounter a bear, don’t run, said Coltrane.
“Stand your ground, especially if a bear is charging, stand your ground.”
Walkers are less at risk than bike riders, who may not be paying attention to what's ahead.
"Especially mountain biking, you're paying attention to the ground, you're paying attention to the trail, the roots, what you are going to hit; you're not necessary constantly looking up,” said Coltrane.
Traveling in groups and making constant noise is recommended, along with carrying bear spray.
Experts said bear spray is considered one of the best deterrents against a charging brown bear.