Alaska Department of Fish and Game say recent DNA tests on a sow brown bear and two cubs killed last Friday shows they were not involved in the mauling that killed a missing hiker last month in Eagle River.

Ken Marsh, a Fish and Game spokesman, said recent sightings near the Symphony Lake Trail had prompted Chugach State Park officials to temporarily close the trail last week. Nobody was injured in the subsequent incidents, which occurred in the same area as the mauling which left 44-year-old Michael Soltis dead. A man who was searching for Soltis was also mauled but survived. 

Efforts to find the bear have been unsuccessful. 

“They were the wrong bears,” Ken Marsh said.

Marsh said more detailed DNA samples taken from the two maulings revealed the same bear attacked Soltis and the searcher near Hiland Road.

The first of the two new incidents since the Hiland Road attack occurred July 6, according to Marsh. Fish and Game received anecdotal and social-media reports of what happened over that weekend. 

“There was a bluff charge,” Marsh said. “It was a female brown bear sow with one yearling cub or two yearling cubs.” 

A second incident reported to Fish and Game July 10, occurred as a group of hikers were traveling from the Hunter Pass area to the Symphony Lake trailhead. While hiking, they encountered a sow brown bear with two or three cubs.

No one was injured during the recent sightings 

Scott Jensen and Chris Klint contributed to this story. 

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