‘Aggressive’ black bear attacks hiker on popular Alaska trail, police say

·2 min read
National Park Service

Hikers are being warned of an “aggressive” black bear wandering a popular Alaska trail.

The black bear attacked a hiker on Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, the Anchorage Police Department said Sunday, Aug. 14. The bear then walked away near the park’s airport runway, police said.

“The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has been notified,” police said. “If you are in the area, please be aware and take proper precautions.”

Police did not disclose the hiker’s identity or condition.

The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail is the city’s most popular trail. It’s an 11-mile trek that stretches from downtown Anchorage to Kincaid Park.

The trail is known to be “one of the most beautiful coastal trails in the nation,” according to the park’s website.

What to do if you see a bear

Bear attacks in the U.S. are rare, according to the National Park Service. Bears in most attacks are trying to defend their food, cubs or space.

There are steps people can take to help prevent a bear encounter from becoming a bear attack.

  • Identify yourself: Talk calmly and slowly wave your arms. This can help the bear realize you’re a human and nonthreatening.

  • Stay calm: Bears usually don’t want to attack; they want to be left alone. Talk slowly and with a low voice to the bear.

  • Don’t scream: Screaming could trigger an attack.

  • Pick up small children: Don’t let kids run away from the bear. It could think they’re small prey.

  • Hike in groups: A group is noisier and smellier, the National Park Service said. Bears like to keep their distance from groups of people.

  • Make yourself look big: Move to higher ground and stand tall. Don’t make any sudden movements.

  • Don’t drop your bag: A bag on your back can keep a bear from accessing food, and it can provide protection.

  • Walk away slowly: Move sideways so you appear less threatening to the bear. This also lets you keep an eye out.

  • Again, don’t run: Bears will chase you, just like a dog would.

  • Don’t climb trees: Grizzlies and black bears can also climb.

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