Bear Mauls Man Who May Face Charges for Feeding It

Article Placeholder Image
By Betty Wang, JD on June 18, 2013 11:47 AM

A bear mauled a man after he drunkenly tried to feed the animal, according to Alaska State Troopers. Now the man may get bitten again -- this time, by the law.

The unidentified man was at a church picnic at a lake north of Anchorage when he decided to break away for a bike ride, bringing with him leftover food from the barbecue, according to the Anchorage Daily News. Troopers report that he flung barbecued meat at the bear.

After the bear gobbled up the first piece, the man tossed another one, and that's when the bear began its attack.

That's also when the man may have violated the law.

Feeding Bears Is Illegal

In Alaska, like in many other states, feeding bears and other animals classified as game is illegal. The statute states that "a person may not intentionally feed a moose, deer, elk, bear, wolf, coyote, fox, or wolverine, or negligently leave human food, animal food, or garbage in a manner that attracts these animals."

There are a number of reasons for this. Bears are often provoked once fed, and because wild animals' diets are different from ours, it's not only unsafe but may also be harmful to the animal's well-being.

This man was of course not the first Alaskan to want to supply our wild animal friends with a snack. Many others in the past have fed the bears and been penalized for it, the Alaska Dispatch reports. Penalties typically involve a fine, jail time, and/or community service.

Self-Defense

It is important to note, though, that while feeding or hurting a bear is against the law, killing a bear in defense of your property or to save yourself from an unprovoked attack is OK. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game even advises that if you must attack a bear in self-defense, make sure you kill it. This is because wounded bears are actually far more dangerous.

In the case of the man who got mauled, however, he was left with punctured skin along his jaw and scratches across his back.

As for the bear, it's still free in the Alaskan wild. A Fish and Game spokesman says it probably won't threaten other people.

Related Resources: