Two brown bears charge man and woman at Mendenhall Glacier

Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2001

JUNEAU (AP) -- Two brown bears charged a couple who were walking along a trail at Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau, just weeks after some residents downplayed the danger of grizzly bears in the area.

The man and woman were walking the West Glacier Trail Monday afternoon when they encountered the bears. The couple told police the bears cornered the woman who hid behind a tree. The boyfriend, meanwhile, jogged by with his dog and distracted the bears. They ran after the man, but then continued up the trail.

While no one was injured, the bears came to within a few feet of the couple, flared their nostrils, growled and made popping sounds with their jaws as they charged them, police said.

Trails near the glacier were closed earlier this month after a grizzly bear and her cub were spotted in the area for about a month, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Hikers on the Trail of Time reported that the sow and cub exhibited aggressive behavior and charged hikers.

Brown bears are a rarity near Juneau. The state Department of Fish and Game has said it might be useful to put transmitters on the bears and track them to find out more about their activities.

Polly Hessing, an assistant area biologist, said more information on brown bears would help the Forest Service better manage the area. She said it would be particularly useful to know if the bears intend to remain in the area next year as well.



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