Woman mauled in Anchorage park

Posted: Sunday, August 10, 2008

ANCHORAGE - Another Anchorage resident has been mauled by a grizzly bear in a city park popular with joggers and bicyclists.

The woman was attacked by the bear Friday evening while jogging in Far North Bicentennial Park. She has not been identified. The woman was attacked by a sow with two cubs.

Rick Sinnott, the area's wildlife biologist, believes it is the same bear that chased a mountain biker earlier this summer and came within inches of harming a cross-country runner in late July. Neither of those people was injured.

Anchorage police say this time the bear caused serious injuries. The woman was bit on her torso, arm and neck.

The woman was able to go for help afterward. She hiked back down the trail and flagged down a passing car. She was taken to Providence Alaska Medical Center in serious condition.

"This is Alaska: big, wild life," said police Sgt. Pablo Paiz. "You have to be careful when you're out here in the woods. There's always a possibility that something's gonna jump out and grab you. You get between a sow and its cubs and a sow's gonna do what a sow's gonna do."

Police after the attack organized a hasty patrol down Rover's Run, toting shotguns and non-lethal weapons as they examined the scene of the attack. There was no bear, but paw prints and fliers already posted warned of the potential danger, including one that said a sow and two cubs were in the area.

The woman ran into the bear along Campbell Creek not far downstream from where 15-year-old Petra Davis was mauled during a 24-hour mountain bike race on June 29.

The young Anchorage cyclist spent more than a week in the hospital and is still recovering from bite wounds to her neck, shoulder and thigh.

Wildlife officials do not know if the sow that was involved in Friday's mauling was the bear that attacked Davis in the worst mauling in the history of the 4,000-acre park on the city's east side.

The park is a wild area tight up against a spreading urban area. To the east, the wilderness of Chugach State Parks sprawls across mountains and valleys for tens of miles.

Recent studies by Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Sean Farley have documented heavy bear use in the park and the adjacent Bureau of Land Management Campbell Tract.

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