Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 30th, 2008
As some kind of joke, an internet wag called Evil Melon has posted that, “Some cryptozoologist is making bizarre claims that the mythical creature known as a ‘bear’ has attacked a girl riding in a 24 hour bike race….Bears are loveable trained creatures who do not live in the wild, do not steal pickernick baskets and do not maul human beings. This is a claim that must be debunked. The wild bear does not exist.”
Not funny. Not happening. More ridicule for cryptozoologists, even for those of us who happen to have an incredible sense of humor.
In a minute, I’ll share an overview on the new Alaskan bear attack.
However, first up, breaking news also is coming from an island across the Bering Strait from Alaska.
The Interfax news agency is reporting on June 30, 2008, the remains of a man half-devoured by a bear have been recovered on Russia’s far eastern Sakhalin island. This brings to three the number of people killed by bears on the island this year.
Authorities said the body was found last week (week of June 22-28) after two friends went to swim at a hot water springs near the village of Krasnogorsk. When one later became incapacitated by leg pain, the other went off to search for help. When he returned, his friend had disappeared.
His badly mutilated body was recovered eight days later, about 200 metres away. Local police told Interfax the bear had buried parts of the body, explaining why authorities were initially unable to find it.
Local hunters backed by police have been trying to track down the bear to kill it, without success.
According to police, a couple encountered a bear in the same area in 2007, but the woman managed to save herself by climbing a tree, while the man was mauled by the animal.
Since January 2008, three people have been killed by bears on Sakhalin, which has a population of 3,000 bears.
Meanwhile, all over the net and news today, June 30, 2008, is the story of a teenage girl riding in an all-night mountain bike race who was badly injured early Sunday morning, June 29, when a bear attacked her on a trail in Far North Bicentennial Park, Alaska.
Law enforcement personnel with shotguns escorted medics into dark woods to retrieve the girl, who underwent surgery at Providence Alaska Medical Center. The girl is expected to survive, Anchorage Fire Department spokeswoman Cleo Hill said, who was quoted as saying the unnamed girl had the “most extensively traumatic injuries he’d seen.”
The bear is believed to be a grizzly, state biologist Rick Sinnott said. It’s possible it’s the same sow who charged a pair of joggers two weekends ago on a nearby trail, he said.
Peter Basinger, a cyclist competing in the race, encountered the injured girl on a trail called Rover’s Run shortly after the attack happened around 1:30 a.m. The trail parallels the south fork of Campbell Creek, a stream stocked with salmon by the state and fished frequently by grizzlies.
The girl mumbled the word “bear” but was unable to say more, Basinger said. Basinger waited with the girl for about 25 minutes until medics arrived.
Emergency responders had to hike about half a mile from the South Bivouac trailhead off Campbell Airstrip Road to reach the girl.
The girl was among about 60 participants in a 24-hour race sponsored by the Arctic Bicycle Club. The race began at noon Saturday and was to end at noon Sunday, but organizers canceled it after the attack.
As noted in the link above to the original Anchorage article, it should be consulted for a longer version of the story. Also, nearly 200 comments from readers who had something to say about this event can be located there.