The first rule in dealing with bears is also the most simple: do not feed them. It seems wildlife officials can never stress enough this cardinal rule, and there will always be people to break it. Like other wildlife, bears can become brash and seek out humans when fed. This inevitably leads to the creatures sniffing through trash, or perhaps targeting campsites as handy snack depositories. Worse yet, bears can become a traffic hazard and have to be removed or killed. Unfortunately, these are all long-term consequences that one Alaska man did not have to deal with. Instead, he received a quick and toothy response.
Anchorage resident Jesus Mabalot, 38, was at a picnic with members of his church at Eklutna Lake Campground when he took his bike into the woods alone. According to ABC News, officials with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game believe that Mabalot had been consuming alcohol and was intoxicated when he came upon a bear. Getting off his bike, Mabalot decided to feed the animal some barbecued meat that he had taken from the picnic.
“He threw some meat to the bear, and the bear ate it. He threw another chunk, and the bear ate it and attacked him,” said Alaska State Troopers spokesperson Beth Ipsen. “It was really brief and really quick.”
The bear scratched Mabalot’s back and bit him around the jaw area, along with some minor bruising. Experts say that he was lucky to escape with his life as a number of recent bear attacks in the state have been fatal. A short while ago, a biologist and his family barely managed to fend off a grizzly bear attack when the animal caught them bird watching. While bears only rarely confront humans, they can be deadly animals and should be avoided in the wild.
Mabalot was later found by a campground host while he tried to clean his wounds with water. He was transported to a local hospital for treatment and then interviewed by rangers, who believe that the incident could have been avoided if the picnicker stayed on his bike. In addition to his injuries Mabalot was fined $310 for feeding wildlife. A subsequent search of the campground did not find the bear. Bears that have attacked humans are usually put down rather than relocated.