After an unleashed border collie chased a brown bear and her two cubs on a trail in Alaska, the mama bear went for the owner, not the dog, authorities say. Alaska Wildlife Troopers said in an incident report that the Kenai River Trail hiker was bitten on the arm by the bear in Cooper Landing, ABC News reports. He then entered the river, but the bear followed him and bit him once more on the shoulder before departing. The man was able to make it back to his vehicle and called emergency services. He was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries after the Sunday attack. His 13-month-old dog is still missing. Troopers say the man had bear spray but didn't have time to use it.
The trail has been temporarily closed, and troopers have asked anybody who spots a loose border collie in the area to call them. Many bears have cubs with them at this time of year, and Park ranger Leah Eskelin says it's common for them to charge when they perceive a threat. "A bear doing her job to protect her cubs sees a threat, neutralizes it, typically in the smallest amount of energy, without any intent to cause serious harm," she tells Alaska Public Media. She says to avoid surprising bears, trail users should make a lot of noise, walk instead of run, and keep pets under control. Eskelin says the incident doesn't appear to be related to the mauling of two campers in the area around two weeks earlier, the Anchorage Daily News reports. (Read more Alaska stories.)