A cyclist confronted and bitten by a 500lb bear while out riding in Alaska told authorities he yelled at and kicked the animal as it ran after him, along a riverbed.
The incident last Tuesday occurred in Cantwell, close to the intersection between the Jack and Nenana rivers, the Alaska department of public safety said.
According to the unidentified man’s report to the police, he saw a brown bear 10 to 15 yards away and running towards him. He jumped off his bike and started to yell.
“Just prior to the bear making contact, the victim fell to the ground and on to his back, covered his head and believes he kicked at the bear,” authorities said.
“The bear made contact and bit the victim’s lower right leg, just below his knee.
“The bear made one contact and one bite, then immediately retreated into the vegetation the same way it approached. After the bear left the area, [the cyclist] walked to the highway and called a friend for a ride.”
The man was carrying a firearm but did not fire it. He said he did not notice anything out of the ordinary before the attack, but did say he noticed bear tracks in the snow.
Taken to hospital, the man was treated for puncture wounds and a laceration and did not seek additional treatment.
According to the National Park Service, bear attacks on humans are rare.
“Each bear and each experience is unique,” the NPS says. “There is no single strategy that will work in all situations and that guarantees safety … your safety can depend on your ability to calm the bear.”
In July, a gold prospector was rescued from an attack by a grizzly bear near the Casadepaga river in Alaska. Richard Jessee was riding his ATV when the bear “rolled [his] bike and the trailer over like it was a toy car”.
After that, Jesse told the Nome Nugget newspaper, “There was no doubt about it: the bear was trying to get into my cabin.”
Jesse was eventually rescued by a US coast guard plane.
The same month, a grizzly bear attacked and killed a person at a western Montana campground.
Grizzly bears have been increasingly coming into conflict with humans in the northern Rockies, as they expand into new areas and the number of people living and camping in the region grows.