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Bear Attacks Sleeping Campers in Alaska

The campers were asleep in their tent when a bear attacked for unknown reasons.

A bear attacked two campers in Alaska’s Kenai National Wildlife Refuge while they slept in their tent on June 12. The campers had bear spray and an air horn with them, but were unable to deploy them in time. 

After the attack, the injured campers kayaked over an hour from their dispersed campsite to a campground across Skilak Lake for help, according to a report from the Associated Press. There were no other campers in the area at the time of the attack, but the campers were well-prepared with first aid supplies. The extent of their injuries is unknown, but emergency services airlifted one camper to a hospital and transported the other by ambulance. 

After the attack, Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists and US Fish and Wildlife Service officers traveled by boat to the campsite, where they discovered a collapsed tent but no sign of the bear. In a press release, the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge said that state biologists were conducting DNA tests on items found in the campsite in an attempt to identify the species of bear.

“There’s no indication that they did anything to prompt the attack or did anything wrong,” wildlife biologist Jeff Selinger of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game told the Anchorage Daily News. “It’s one of those where you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

A 3-mile trail to Skilak Lake was closed on Saturday following the midnight attack, but reopened on Sunday with signs warning hikers that the aggressive bear may still be in the area. The incident follows two fatal bear attacks over the past three months. Bear attacks are rare, but they do happen. Read up on bear safety and always carry a deterrent and first aid supplies in the backcountry.