Guy in Bear Costume Harasses Bears

Wildlife officials aren't sure what his problem is
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 14, 2015 2:44 AM CDT
Guy in Bear Costume Harasses Bears
A genuine brown bear heads to a sandbar to eat a salmon it caught at Brooks Falls, Alaska.   (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

Authorities want to talk to a man who donned a fairly realistic bear costume—head and all—and wore it when harassing a bear and two cubs trying to feed on pink salmon in an Alaska river. The incident happened earlier this week on the Chilkoot River near Haines, says Mark Sogge, an Alaska Fish and Game biologist. It wasn't immediately known what the man was trying to accomplish. A crowd had gathered at a weir, used to count fish, because the sow and two cubs have frequently been showing up there to feed during the salmon run. They were at a safe distance from the weir and were startled when a man decked out in a bear outfit ran through the area Monday evening.

The man began to jump up and down and then got close to the cubs, within five to 10 feet, Sogge says. An Alaska Fish and Game technician moved the sow out of the way for the man's safety and then tried to talk to the man, which Sogge says was a little outside his normal duties. "Our job is to count fish," Sogge says. The man refused to identify himself and Sogge says he told the technician: "You have the license plate number. You figure it out." The man then drove off without ever removing the costume head and revealing his face. Wildlife officials reported the incident to troopers, including the license plate number, and the man could face wildlife harassment charges. (More Alaska stories.)

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