Bear attacks woman in Denali National Park
The National Park Service says a grizzly bear will be located and killed after an attack in Alaska’s Denali National Park.
Fangyuan Zhou, 28, was bitten and scratched by the bear Friday night while hiking the Savage Alpine Trail, according to a National Park Service news release.
Zhou was with friends when she encountered the bear, described as a small grizzly aged between 2 and 5 years old.
The group had seen the bear earlier and were trying to avoid it, but the animal eventually charged them. Before it attacked, Park Rangers say the group “played dead.”
After the attack, the bear walked away. It returned a few minutes later, then ran off when the group threw rocks at it.
Others on the four mile long trail had spotted the same bear earlier Friday and scared it off by grouping together, shouting and waving their arms. Park Rangers say that’s exactly what to do during a bear encounter.
“While playing dead is an appropriate response when physical contact with a bear occurs or is imminent, playing dead prematurely can invoke a curiosity response from a bear,” the park said in the news release. “Park guidelines do not recommend playing dead prior to contact.”
Zhou was treated for her wounds at the park then went to an Anchorage hospital. Her condition is unknown.
The bear involved in the attack has had other encounters with park visitors in the past two weeks, including two charging reports on hikers in the same area. The NPS says no one was injured, but the bear did take food from a backpack.
The Park Service had been trying to get the bear out of the area using “aversive conditioning,” in which rangers shoot non-lethal bean bags at the bear in an attempt to establish dominance.
Because of its so called “erratic behavior,” the bear will be located and killed as soon as possible, according to the National Park Service.
Denali Park Road and all hiking trails in a four mile stretch have been temporarily closed due to the “recent bear-human interactions,” the park said on its Facebook page.