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Contact: Neal Labrie, 907-246-3305
On July 13, 2009, park staff was forced to kill a brown bear on the coast of Katmai National Park. Park archeologists had been camping and working on an off shore Island for several days when a lone bear appeared at their campsite.
The bear showed continually aggressive behavior towards both members of the crew at their campsite and was not easily chased away from the site. Various means were deployed to dissuade the bear from approaching including loud noises, visual displays and at one point pepper spray was used on the animal. At no time did the bear obtain food or other items from the campsite.
On the morning of July 13th the bear was in the act of charging, unprovoked, at one of the archeologists, while camp was being dismantled for departure. Both park employees fired their weapons to stop the charge which resulted in the death of the bear.
The investigation remains open while additional information is collected. There were no injuries to either of the archeologists on site. Samples have been collected from the animal and will be examined as part of the investigation.
While this level of aggression towards people has been rare in the Katmai area, it should serve as a reminder to all visitors and staff. Bears and other animals in the park are wild and exhibit unpredictable behavior. Adherence to existing food storage and viewing regulations are essential to the safety of both people and the wildlife around them.