U.S. Army Soldier Dies After Bear Attack at Alaska Base: Report

by TK Sanders
us-army-soldier-dies-after-bear-attack-alaska-base-report

A U.S. Army soldier died of injuries resulting from a bear attack in Alaska Tuesday, the Associated Press first reported. The soldier was training with a small group in a designated area west of the Anchorage Regional Landfill when the bear appeared and attacked them.

The 673d Security Forces Squadron initially responded to the bear attack. Wildlife troopers continued searching for the bear into the evening hours Tuesday. U.S. Army Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson said it will not release the victim’s name until the next of kin is notified.

Officials have since closed the area to the public. It’s unclear what species of bear attacked the soldier, or what triggered the attack.

Will the U.S. soldier’s bear attack death reignite discussions regarding big game hunting?

In December 2021, Montana’s governor sought to end protections for some grizzlies; a move that — if approved by federal officials — could allow hunting of the bears for the first time in decades.

“With the grizzly bear recovered, keeping the species listed under the Endangered Species Act will only continue to impact communities, farmers and ranchers, and recreationists around the state,” Gov. Greg Gianforte said at the time. “It also limits Montana’s options when it comes to dealing with conflict bears.”

Hunting of grizzly bears is illegal in the Lower 48 and is allowed only in Alaska, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“It’s very disappointing to [Montana] them moving forward with this,” Andrea Zaccardi, senior attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, said in response to the initiative. “It seems that Montana is taking a piecemeal approach to how they view grizzly bear recovery.”

According to the FWS, “considerable challenges remain to fully recover the grizzly bear in the Lower 48 states.”

A missing Montana hiker dies in March after encountering a bear

Less than two months ago, another bear attack claimed the life of an innocent victim in Montana. Minnesota native Craig Clouatre split up from a friend on a trail while hiking, but never met back at the rendezvous point.

The friends were hiking in mid-March on a Wednesday evening near Six Mile Creek, about 20 to 25 miles to the north of Yellowstone National Park. The Park County Sherriff’s office immediately sprang into action to look for the missing hiker.

“We don’t typically put people into the mountains in the dark on an initial look, so we started first thing Thursday morning, and went through the day Thursday,” Sheriff Brad Bichler said at the time. “(We) flew thermal imaging overnight, Thursday night, until about 11 o’clock, and then started back up this morning [Friday] right after first light.” Authorities found Clouatre’s body on Friday, the post said.

On Facebook, Bichler requested residents “please keep his family and all those involved in your thoughts and prayers.”

Outsider.com