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Discussion in 'Nature' started by incabloc, Aug 26, 2012.
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Hiker photographed grizzly bear before it killed him
Last Updated: 8:09 AM, August 26, 2012
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A hiker in Alaska's Denali National Park photographed a grizzly bear for at least eight minutes before the bear mauled and killed him in the first fatal attack in the park's history, officials said Saturday.
Investigators have recovered the camera and looked at the photographs, which show the bear grazing and not acting aggressively before the attack, Denali Park Superintendent Paul Anderson said.
The hiker was identified late Saturday as Richard White, 49, of San Diego. He was backpacking alone along the Toklat River on Friday afternoon when he came within 50 yards of the bear, far closer than the quarter-mile of separation required by park rules, officials said.
"They show the bear grazing in the willows, not acting aggressive in any form or manner during that period of time," Anderson said of the photos.
Officials learned of the attack after hikers stumbled upon an abandoned backpack along the river about three miles from a rest area on Friday afternoon. The hikers also spotted torn clothing and blood. They immediately hiked back and alerted staff park.
Rangers in a helicopter spotted a large male grizzly bear sitting on the hiker's remains, which they called a "food cache" in the underbrush about 100 to 150 yards from the site of the attack on Friday.
A state trooper shot and killed the male bear on Saturday. Investigators examined the bear's stomach contents, looked at White's photos and used other tests Saturday evening to confirm that it was the animal that killed White, park officials said in a statement Saturday night.
White's remains were recovered Saturday evening and were being sent to the medical examiner in Anchorage.
There's no indication that the man's death was the result of anything other than a bear attack, investigators said, adding that it's the first known fatal mauling in the park's nearly century-long history.
"Over the years, and especially since the 1970s, the park has worked very diligently to minimize the conflict between humans and wildlife in the park," Anderson said. "We have some of the most stringent human-wildlife conflict regulations in the National Park system, and I think those are largely responsible for the fact that there hasn't been a fatal attack."
White had been in the Denali backcountry for three nights and may have recently hiked in other areas of Alaska, park officials said. It was unknown if he had previous backcountry experience in Denali.
Park officials said they don't believe other registered backpackers are in the immediate area. That portion of the park is closed but other wilderness areas remain open, officials said.
Prior to receiving a permit to hike in the area, all backpackers in the park receive mandatory bear awareness training that teaches them to stay at least a quarter-mile away from bears, and to slowly back away if they find themselves any closer. Investigators confirmed that the hiker had received that training.
Denali is located 240 miles north of Anchorage. It spans more than 6 million acres and is home to numerous wild animals, including bears, wolves, caribou and moose.
Very sad - no photograph is worth this.
I Blame TV
No one would casually hang out in the vicinity of a Tyranasaurus Rex or Velociraptor if they came across one. Griz is just as dangerous. If the guy had slowly backed out of there the minute he saw the animal he'd be alive today.
I had friends in northern Idaho who wanted me to go huckelberry picking with them. Well on the way up the mountain we passed a huge sign telling folks to be wary of Grizzly Bears. I asked my friend if Griz liked berries knowing the answer. He just said not to worry. Right. Never again.
I think the Oz equivalent of the Grizzly is the Crocodile and the same rules apply. If you're in their territory don't go anywhere near them!
I don't see why the bear had to be put down. This is just natural selection at work and not the fault of the bear for the photographer's poor judgement.
Unfortunately once a bear attacks a human they are much more likely to attack and even hunt humans in the future. Even if the first attack was "provoked" by the human. So unfortunately the bear has to be killed. It isn't out of revenge, it is to protect innocent park visitors in the future.
Saw a large black bear in the smokies. Good thing it wasn't headed are way. They are dangerous too.
Stopping to take photos within 50 yards of a grizzly isn't too wise. Sadly, the photographer didn't follow the rules and the bear paid the price for something that was natural ... I do feel bad for the photographer, but it does appear to be his fault for not following the rules that have worked for countless others.
Apparently the bear doesn't like to be caught without wearing a make up
It sucks. Maybe he didnt play follow the instructions given to him for bear encounter. Its sad either way.
I'm not sure it's a greater tragedy....if someone is stupid enough to disregard strong, repeated warnings in Denali then...he/she/it got what they deserved. The tragedy is that the bear had to die.
Yes, the bear's family is understandably very upset.
Very sad indeed. Many people take wild life for granted for that one photograph. We often don't think straight when excited, I think we need to respect wild in the wild life. Either life was not worth the photograph . Here in India, we often have photographers who get so close to Elephants in the wild to get that one shot that they get attacked and in some cases killed too.
Saw this one this morning... very poignant considering that only a few days before, my wife and I were hiking with my brother in law and his wife in Denali, a few miles away from where this happened. Not only that, but we encountered a mother Grizzly and her two cubs about 75 feet in front of us - much closer than this hiker was to the bear that attacked him.
The difference in our case was that we had spotted fresh bear scat (as in still warm fresh) a few minutes before and made sure to make plenty of noise to alert the bear as well as do our best to stay in a group and avoid the bear's path. When we did spot the bear, she was already headed away from us and we were able to back away and observe the bears retreat from a safe distance. And yes, I did get pictures, but only AFTER the bear was clearly leaving the area, so it's all Grizzly rear end. All things considered, I'm much happier with a bad photo than a bad outcome as in this hiker's death.
I dont understand why to put the bear down. Your dog or cat bites you, also tries your blood, and it doesnt become a human killer. Sharks are not human killers, and no one puts a shark down when they bite/kill someone. it just doesnt make sense. I dont think the family of the guy asked the police to kill the bear!.
The fun part is
"A state trooper shot and killed the male bear on Saturday. Investigators examined the bear's stomach contents, looked at White's photos and used other tests Saturday evening to confirm that it was the animal that killed White, park officials said in a statement Saturday night."
What if the bear the trooper killed was not the "one" ?.... this is when i think WE humans are just stupid.
As a former Alaskan, I've got a few things to say on the subject.
Bear behavior is very poorly understood. Bears in the wild are almost entirely unpredictable and thus EXTREMELY dangerous. The only exception to this unpredictability are polar bears who DEFINITELY ARE trying to eat you and thus EXTREMELY dangerous.
This harsh reality causes some upset for "eco types" who fear that demonizing the bear will lead to further persecution by man, much like the wolf situation. Some biologists and photographers who've spent time around wild bears feel that they've had an unfair portrayal. The problem is that unlike wolves, bears do attack and even eat people, often without warning and for "no good reason" (Treadwell). Some bear mauling survivors report that the bear disabled but did not kill them, seemingly for the purpose of using them as a plaything, sometimes leaving and returning periodically to maul them further.
FWIW, I consider myself an "eco type", but I know for sure that bears are not our friends. We haven't been a very good friend to them either for the most part. Bears are wonderful and important animals that shouldn't be demonized or persecuted by man. They are however (once again) EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TO HUMANS in the wild and should be avoided in all seasons. Besides being unpredictable and ornery, bears are fast, strong, smart, tenacious, and equipped with impressive claws and teeth. An attacking bear might not even be discouraged by multiple large caliber gunshot wounds.
For those who would like to photograph wild bears, I would suggest a tourist destination that is set up for safe viewing or hiring a guide with a getaway vehicle such as a motorboat.
This is so unfair, how come we don't get to see the resulting photographs at all?
I feel sorry for 'im
Kicking the bucket from a bear is nearly as bad as getting run over while taking a picture of a fork in the road!
I absolutely have to agree. The human acts unwisely, gets killed (which is a drama in itself) than the animal which asked for nothing in the first place loses its life as well. How does killing this bear makes anything better or right ?