2 people touched by Katmai National Park bears
A pair of bear encounters in a national park famous for its brown bears have left two people unhurt, amid a rise in bear-human interactions.
Staff at the Katmai National Park and Preserve, which hosts a popular online bear camera each summer, said both encounters occurred in the past week.
“In the first incident, a bear pawed a visitor’s pant leg after approaching the visitor in a curious manner,” park officials wrote. “In the second event, a bear that was being chased by another bear pawed an employee of Katmailand’s Brooks Lodge. Both cases involved young bears and neither resulted in injury.”
The incidents, which mark the first reports of a bear contacting a visitor in more than 20 years, come during increased activity in the park by both visitors and young bears. The park’s count of subadult bears, which have recently separated from their mothers, is at its highest in roughly a decade.
“These young bears, known as subadults, often move at high speeds as they chase each other around the Brooks Camp Developed Area, which leads to surprise interactions,” park officials wrote. “Additionally, these young bears occasionally challenge people as they determine their place in the social hierarchy.”
Park visitors are being urged to avoid future bear issues by following rules outlined in the park’s bear orientation sessions, as well as “maintaining situational awareness.”
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