Kenai Man Survives Brown Bear Attack

Aaron Selbig

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     A man who was out birding Sunday afternoon near the mouth of the Kasilof River had his peace interrupted by an aggressive brown bear that attacked him. But the man came away from the frightening encounter with only minor injuries.

     The victim was Toby Burke, who happens to work as a biological technician at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Burke was off-duty Sunday afternoon, enjoying some nice weather while birding at the mouth of the Kasilof River.

     Alaska State Trooper Spokesperson Megan Peters says Burke was on the north bank of the river when the bear came toward him and bit his arm. After a brief scuffle, the bear let go and wandered away.

     The bear was a female brown bear, estimated to be about 500 pounds. Peters says three Troopers responded to the call.

     "They wanted to contact people in the area and let them know what transpired." she said. "And while one of the Troopers was talking to people ... the other two had their own encounter with the bear. The bear came out of the treeline and was moving toward them. Both the Troopers fired upon the bear."

     Peters says Burke was examined at the site of the incident. He received minor injuries to his arms but declined further medical treatment. She says the deceased bear was released to a local charity.  

     Burke was unavailable for comment in time for this story.

 

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