A brown bear mauled a 9-year-old child before an adult family member shot the animal dead, Alaska police said.
The attack in the Palmer Hay Flats on Tuesday left the child with “serious injuries” and the adult family member with minor wounds, Alaska State Troopers said in a statement.
The pair were hunting when they came across the dangerous animal, which lunged at the kid before the adult opened fire and killed the animal.
Police didn’t describe how the two were related, but said both were treated at a nearby hospital.
Alaska troopers and state Department of Fish and Game staff returned to the scene Wednesday to investigate and perform a necropsy on the bear’s remains.
Officials are hoping to figure out what prompted the brown bear to attack the child, Todd Rinaldi, a regional management coordinator for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, told Anchorage Daily News.
“That’s one of the efforts that are happening this morning, is to determine if there was actually a cub in the area, if there was a carcass or something in the area and to evaluate the conditions behind the attack,” Rinaldi said.
According to the Alaska paper, officials have been searching for a brown bear that has been raiding chicken coops over the last few weeks, though sightings of the thief have eased in recent days.
Less than two weeks earlier, a hunter visiting from Michigan was mauled by a mama grizzly after he stumbled upon her and her three cubs north of Glennallen, approximately 200 miles from where the 9-year-old was attacked. The man escaped with serious puncture wounds after spraying the animal with bear spray.