Biologists kill bear suspected in Eagle River maulings
A brown bear which may have been involved in Eagle River maulings last month, which left one man dead and another man injured, has been killed by state biologists.
Residents in the South Fork addition on Hiland Road told the Alaska Department of Fish and Game that the bear – a sow with two cubs, each about a year or two old – were seen Friday morning, according to Fish and Game spokesman Ken Marsh.
The bears were spotted within sight of where 44-year-old Michael Soltis was found fatally mauled on June 20; a searcher looking for him was mauled and wounded the same day. Testing by Fish and Game has shown that both men were mauled by brown bear sows, although not necessarily the same bear.
Fish and Game staff flew into the area Friday and killed all three bears, Marsh said. The sow’s carcass will be tested over the next week to see if it committed either of the June attacks.
In the meantime, the South Fork Trail remains closed, and Marsh says residents in the area should remain cautious. The Department has a zero-tolerance policy for bears involved in fatal maulings.
Marsh says if another sow is spotted in the area, Fish and Game wants to know about it because they will put that bear down, too.
Three other brown bears have been killed in the nearby Eagleridge subdivision in connection with garbage issues. On Wednesday, state parks officials closed the Symphony Lake Trail near the mauling sites due to two encounters with brown bears.
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