Bear suspected in fatal Bird Ridge mauling killed
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has killed the bear they suspect in the mauling death of a 16-year-old boy who had competed in a race on Bird Ridge Sunday.
The bear had a recent wound to its lower jaw, which authorities believe identifies it as the bear involved, as the bear responsible for the mauling was shot by a Chugach State Park Ranger in the head. The bear was killed Tuesday evening.
Fish and Game also shot and killed three other lone black bears in the area, they say, to ensure the bear responsible for the attack was killed. They continued that they did not use tranquilizer darts because they were impractical due to extremely steep, rugged, brushy terrain.
“Folks should know that we did consider darting animals so that we could basically examine them,” says Ken Marsh, Department of Fish and Game. “Unfortunately, the terrain was far too rugged– it was very steep, very rocky, very brushy to the point where, you know, when an animal is darted it doesn’t immediately go to sleep– they run for a ways after being darted before the drug takes effect, and in cases like that, the animal often falls– it could fall off a cliff and end up dying anyway.”
Patrick Cooper, 16, had competed in the Bird Ridge Race Sunday when he texted his brother saying he was being chased by a bear. Searchers used the boy’s cellphone to ping his location and found his body being guarded by an aggressive black bear.
Black bear attacks are rare, however, two people in Alaska have been fatally attacked just this week.
A necropsy is planned for the bear believed to be responsible for Patrick Cooper’s mauling death.
The Bird Ridge Trail remains closed to hikers until the investigation is complete.