Man killed by brown bear on Alaskan island

Oct. 16, 2012 at 4:32 PM
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SITKA, Alaska, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- A Sitka, Alaska, man was found dead on an uninhabited island, the victim of a brown bear attack, authorities said.

The body of Tomas Puerta, 54, was found on Chicagof Island partly eaten in what appeared to be a bear's food cache, KCAW-FM in Sitka reported.

Sitka Mountain Rescue and other agencies discovered the body Sunday after getting a call from a passing boater. That person had gone ashore on the island about 30 miles north of Sitka after spotting a skiff anchored in what appeared to be an unnatural way, saw a sow bear with cubs and saw "things just didn't seem right," Sitka Mountain Rescue Capt. Don Kluting reported.

Puerta was working as a contract tree thinner in the Tongass National Forest.

Admiralty, Baranof, and Chichagof, known as the ABC Islands, are among the world's most densely populated with brown bears. But Puerta is the first person known to have been killed by a bear on one of the islands since 1988.

"In most cases, when bears and people come in contact, it's sort of reciprocal: both want to get out of one another's way, and bears typically will flee, assuming they've got a place to get away to or an avenue out," said Doug Larsen of the Alaska Department of Fish & Game.

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