JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — DNA from one of three black bears killed by state wildlife department employees earlier this month matched samples collected as part of an investigation into a fatal bear attack in south-central Alaska, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said Monday.
Earlier this month, the department said employees had killed a female brown bear and three female black bears near where Daniel Schilling of Hope died late last month. DNA samples from the scene matched one of the black bears, the department said Monday, adding that it believed the black bear came upon Schilling’s body after he had died.
The department said authorities believe a female brown bear was responsible for the initial attack that killed Schilling. It is unclear what led to the incident, as there were no witnesses, the department said. DNA from the brown bear killed by department employees did not match samples taken from near the attack site, the department said.
“Bear attacks are rare and finding the DNA of two different bear species at the site makes it even more unusual,” the release states.
The department said it will continue collecting samples from brown bears killed by hunters or killed under defense of life or property regulations.