Man In Bear Suit Harasses Grizzlies At Tourist Area

Open Jaw

Maybe he thinks he’s a grizzly bear. Maybe he was raised by grizzlies and is trying to come home. Or maybe he’s simply cuckoo for cocoa puffs.

At any rate, Alaskan authorities want to talk to a man who donned a fairly realistic bear costume — head and all — and wore it when harassing a mother bear and its two cubs trying to feed on pink salmon in an Alaska river.

The incident happened last week on the Chilkoot River near Haines, as bewildered tourists looked on, said Alaska Fish and Game assistant area management biologist Mark Sogge.

A crowd had gathered at a weir, used to count fish, because the bears have frequently been showing up there to feed during the salmon run. Kept at a safe distance from the weir, the onlookers 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 1½ to three metres, Sogge said.

Alaska Fish and Game technician Lou Cenicola moved the sow out of the way for the man's safety and then tried to talk to the man, which Sogge said is a little outside Cenicola's normal duties. "Our job is to count fish," Sogge said.

The man refused to identify himself and then drove off without ever removing the costume head and revealing his face. It wasn't immediately known what the man was trying to accomplish.

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