Officials Kill Brown Bear on Chichagof Island; Mauling Victim Remains Found

Officials have shot and killed one of three bears possibly responsible for killing a Sitka man on Chichagof Island.


by Associated Press

UPDATE: SITKA - Officials have shot and killed one of three bears possibly responsible for killing a Sitka man on Chichagof Island.

The Daily Sitka Sentinel reports police believe it was one of two cubs seen with a sow near the remains of 54-year-old Thomas Puerta.

A necropsy was planned Tuesday.

Police confirmed the death Sunday and said remains were likely that of Puerta, who left Sitka in a skiff Thursday on his way to a forestry job site when his boat apparently broke down.

Boaters found the skiff Sunday and investigated. They were confronted by three aggressive bears protecting a cache, which contained the partially eaten remains of a man. Police tentatively identified Puerta based on items at the camp and information from family.

Police want to kill all three bears.

Earlier Post:

SITKA - Authorities in Sitka say a 54-year-old local man is missing and likely was mauled by one or more brown bears on a nearby southeast Alaska island.

Human remains were found over the weekend on southern Chichagof Island about 30 miles north of Sitka.

KCAW-radio reports Tomas Puerta on Thursday left Sitka in a skiff. He was reported overdue Sunday afternoon.

People on another boat reported an unsecured skiff near Poison Cove on the island. They went to shore to investigate and were met by an aggressive sow with two cubs.

Responders found a campsite with evidence of a struggle. They followed disturbed vegetation and clothing to a bear cache that contained a partially eaten body.

Items at the scene linked Puerta to the mauling. An autopsy is planned.

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