ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska wildlife officials closed a forested area near an Anchorage park because of an aggressive brown bear that may be protecting a carcass.
The area near the Abbott Loop Community Park is expected to remain closed through Nov. 5, the Anchorage Daily News reported Saturday.
Officials temporarily banned human traffic in the area as a precaution to allow the bear time to consume what could be a moose carcass.
Dave Battle, Anchorage-area biologist at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said a brown bear charged three times at a man who was walking his dog.
The man reported there was a group of magpies and ravens squawking in the trees above and he went to investigate whether there was something dead nearby.
The bear then charged him without making contact but coming close, said Battle, who noted the bear’s action was fairly common.
“Sounds like a classic defensive charge,” Battle said.
The bear’s behavior and the birds gathered in the area indicate the presence of a carcass, he said, although there was no immediate confirmation.
“If it’s something big enough for a bear to actually sit on and defend, it’s usually a moose,” Battle said.
Fish and Game officials would have tried to spook the bear away while park staff disposed of the carcass if the bear threatened someone on a main trail. But the suspected dead moose is likely far off a regular path, he said.
“It’s out in the middle of the woods,” Battle said.
While black bears usually hibernate by October, brown bears often do not settle into their dens until November, he said.
“If the bear is out of the den still, it’s trying to pack in every calorie it can so it can survive the winter,” Battle said. “If it’s found a carcass, it’s probably going to consume most or all of it before it goes into the den.”