Brown bear kills, eats, Ketchikan man

Posted: Tuesday, July 18, 2000

HYDER (AP) -- In a rare predatory attack, a brown bear killed and partially ate a Ketchikan man at a campground near a bear viewing area, Alaska State Troopers said Monday.

The body of George Tullos, 41, was found Saturday at the Run Amuck campground near Hyder, a small community on the Canadian border about 75 miles northeast of Ketchikan. The attack apparently happened sometime late Friday.

''The bear attacked him and ate on him,'' First Sgt. Steve Garrett said. ''It was not a matter of slapping him around, the bear ate on him.''

Officials shot the bear and found pieces of the victim in its stomach, said Bruce Dinneford, regional management coordinator for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's wildlife division.

Predatory bear attacks are very rare, said Bruce Bartley, a spokesman for the wildlife division. The Hyder attack was the first bear attack of any kind in Alaska this year, Bartley said.

''There's generally about half a dozen cases a year where someone is injured by a bear,'' Bartley said. ''About four of those six cases tend to be hunters.''

Bartley could recall only three reported cases of bears attacking people and eating them in the past 20 years.

Tullos apparently was alone at the private campground on the banks of the Salmon River when the attack occurred, Garrett said. He was believed to be sleeping outdoors with only a tarp for shelter.

The campground is about a quarter-mile from a bear-viewing platform operated by the U.S. Forest Service.

''It's one of the few areas where there are both black and brown bears,'' said Trooper Sgt. Kurt Ludwig. ''Tourists come from all over the world to view it.''

Ludwig said there never had been a bear attack before at either the viewing area or the platform.

''There's never been any problem at all,'' Ludwig said. ''The tourists have been known to get extremely close to the bears.''

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