Brown Bear Bites Alaska Hiker's Leg Before He is Rescued by Helicopter

A hiker was rescued in southeast Alaska on Wednesday after being bitten by a bear, according to National Park Service officials.

The bear attacked the unidentified hiker on Tuesday while they were walking along the 33-mile long Chilkoot Trail, which crosses through the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park into Canada, Anchorage Daily News reported.

Despite suffering an injury to the lower leg, the hiker managed to find a National Park cabin—located about eight miles from the start of the trail, just outside the city of Skagway—where they made a radio distress call at around 2 a.m.

Subsequently, the National Park Service and Skagway Fire Department sent out a search party by helicopter, which eventually found the hiker at the cabin at around 9 a.m.

Emergency services then flew the hiker to the Dahl Memorial Clinic in Skagway where they were treated for their injuries.

The hiker identified the animal in question as a brown bear. In Alaska, brown bears tend to be around one-third larger than their relatives in the rest of North America, most likely due the abundance of food in the region.

This is not the only bear attack to have hit the headlines this year. In late July, a Canadian man, Colin Dowler, survived a brutal grizzly bear attack by stabbing the animal in the neck with a two-inch pocket knife, the BBC reported.

Dowler was mountain biking in the remote backcountry of British Columbia when he came across the large male. At first he tried to stay still in order to avoid a confrontation, but the bear approached him and started swatting at him with its paws. After a struggle, during which Dowler suffered several injuries, he was eventually able to fend the bear off by stabbing it with the knife.

Just a month later, a 13-year-old boy was bitten by a bear while he slept at a camp site in Utah. The teen was spending the night at at Dewey Bridge Campground along the Colorado River when the bear attacked him in the early hours of the morning, according to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR.)

The boy suffered injuries to his right cheek and ear, although fortunately they were relatively minor. He was treated at a hospital that same day.

And in September, a hiker was injured in Southbury, Connecticut after a black bear knocked him to the ground before running off into the woods, NBC Connecticut reported.

brown bear, Alaska
Brown bears fishing for salmon on the Moraine River on August 20, 2017 in Katmai National Park, Alaska. Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images

Despite these recent examples, unprovoked bear attacks are actually rare, in large part because the animals usually like to avoid contact with humans. However, attacks do occur on occasion, sometimes resulting in serious injury or death for those involved.

The behavior of bears can be unpredictable and no two encounters are the same. Nevertheless, the National Park Service (NPS) makes a number of recommendations for keeping safe while hiking in bear country.

Firstly, if you spot a bear, the most important things are to ensure that you keep your distance and avoid surprising the animal. Usually, the bear will walk away if it hears you coming.

But if the animal does start paying attention to you, it is a good idea to identify yourself by talking calmly to the animal in low tones, while remaining still, so it knowns you are human. Do not scream, make any sudden movements or run away as this could trigger an attack.

If the bear is stationary, you should then try and move away slowly and sideways while keeping an eye on the animal. If you can, leave the area or take another route. If this is not possible, wait until the bear moves, always making sure to leave it an escape route.