Man in bear costume harasses mother and cubs in Alaska

By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |  Aug. 14, 2015 at 10:26 AM
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HAINES, Alaska, Aug. 14 (UPI) -- The Alaska Department of Fish and Game said a worker witnessed a man in a "realistic-looking" bear costume harassing a mother bear and her cubs.

Mark Sogge, a spokesman for the department's Haines office, said Chilkoot Lake weir technician Lou Cenicola saw a man in a "realistic-looking" bear suit run through a group of people standing at the side of a road watching bears by the Chilkoot River.

Cenicola saw the man run up to the weir gate "waving and jumping" in an apparent attempt to get the attention of the sow and cubs, which were about 5 to 10 feet away from the gate, Sogge said.

The technician's report of the incident said Cenicola told the man he could be cited for wildlife harassment and the costumed man left without identifying himself.

Sogge said Cenicola was able to jot down the man's license plate number his report was turned over to Alaska State Troopers.

Troopers are aware of the incident and an investigation is underway, spokeswoman Megan Peters said.

Sogge said the man's bear costume would not have prevented the mother from attacking if she thought he was threatening her cubs.

A jogger was mauled by a bear earlier this month while on a trail along Skilak Lake. Gabbriele Markel, 20, was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

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