San Diego photographer killed by bear at Denali National Park
A San Diego man was killed by a grizzly Friday at Denali National Park in Alaska, the first fatal bear attack in the park's history.
Rangers told reporters that Richard White, 49, photographed the animal for eight minutes Friday before the attack.
"It's an extremely rare event, and it's not common that we even have injuries related to bears," park spokeswoman Maureen McLaughlin told the Anchorage Daily News. "We don't see a lot, and we think some of that is due to our education."
Officials told the paper it took more than 24 hours to recover White's body. Hikers came across bloody shards of clothes and other personal effects and called rangers, who began the search. Officials reviewed White's camera and saw the photos he took of the bear, which they said was "grazing and not acting aggressively."
According to the Associated Press:
[White] was backpacking alone along the Toklat River on Friday afternoon when he came within 50 yards of the bear, far closer than the quarter-mile of separation required by park rules, officials said.
A state trooper shot and killed the male bear on Saturday. Investigators examined the bear’s stomach contents, looked at White’s photos and used other tests Saturday evening to confirm that it was the animal that killed White, park officials said in a statement Saturday night.
White’s remains were recovered Saturday evening and were being sent to the medical examiner in Anchorage.
There’s no indication that the man’s death was the result of anything other than a bear attack, investigators said, adding that it’s the first known fatal mauling in the park’s nearly century-long history.
— Shelby Grad and Andrew Blankstein
Photo: This file photo shows an adult bear in Denali National Park in Alaska. Park officials said a hiker was fatally attacked by a bear Friday. (Joel Sartore / National Geographic / August 25, 2012)