A 55-year-old man from Indiana was attacked by a grizzly bear Monday night while he was hiking in Denali National Park just south of the Eielson Visitor Center. Anchorage Daily News reports the man was in stable condition Tuesday morning at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, the park service said in an online statement.
The man had been hiking alone when a grizzly with two cubs charged him from bushes about 100 feet away. The area he was hiking is at over 3,500 feet elevation and features open tundra, with rolling landscape and large stands of willows and alders. There was dense fog at the time of the attack. The man was able to deploy bear spray after the bear knocked him down. The bears left the area after the attack and the man walked to Eielson Visitor Center, where he was picked up by a park transit bus.
Luckily vacationing medical providers were on the bus and treated the man for puncture wounds to his calf, left ribs and left shoulder. He was taken to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital where he is in stable condition.
The attack appeared to be defensive and the park service said there are no plans to locate the involved bear.
“Female bears with cubs are naturally defensive of their young, especially when surprised, There is no indication that this bear is unusually dangerous.”
The park service closed backcountry units 11 and 12 for one week as a cooling-off period as separation of bears and people following a natural defensive attack helps achieve the objective of keeping people safe and bears wild.
images from Denali National Park FB