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Back-to-back Alaska fatal black bear maulings seen as flukes

June 21, 2017

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Experts say back-to-back fatal maulings of people by black bears in Alaska appear to be flukes by rogue bears but warn that people venturing into bear habitat should always carry bear repellent spray or guns.

In the first attack, a black bear killed a 16-year-old runner Sunday who got lost competing in a mountain race south of Anchorage.

On Monday, a worker at a remote gold exploration site was mauled to death. A second worker was injured by the same black bear.

Retired state bear biologist John Hechtel tracked Alaska’s fatal bear maulings between 1980 and 2014 and counted three only fatal maulings by black bears.

There were 15 killings of people by brown or grizzly bears during the same period and one fatal mauling by a polar bear.

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