Wildlife officials in Alaska think the same brown bear that killed a solo hiker outside Anchorage also mauled one of the volunteers looking for him. The volunteer suffered serious injuries to his leg but is expected to survive, reports the Anchorage Daily News. The saga began when 44-year-old avid hiker Michael Soltis took off on a solo trek Monday in Eagle River but never returned, reports Alaska Public Media. On Wednesday, one of the volunteers looking for him was attacked by a brown bear, and the search team found the body of Soltis nearby.
"It appears the brown bear was protecting the body (of Soltis) when it attacked a member of the search party," says a police statement. Authorities are warning hikers to stay away from the area but have not decided whether the bear needs to be tracked and killed. First, they'll try to figure out the circumstances of Soltis' death—if he stumbled onto the bear's cubs or a food source, for example. There's also the chance he died of natural causes first, reports the AP. (Authorities are saying "absolutely never do that" after a man went after a black bear.)