- Associated Press - Thursday, June 9, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Responders in Alaska’s largest city shot and killed a bear Thursday that was wandering in the vicinity where a man might have been attacked by a bear and severely injured.

Anchorage police initially believed the man had been stabbed Wednesday night, then determined it was more likely he was mauled by a bear.

Around midmorning Thursday, someone reported seeing a small black bear in the vicinity, according to state Department of Fish and Game spokesman Ken Marsh. Agency biologists quickly found the animal, and fatally shot it with a 12-gauge shotgun after the animal showed no fear of humans and stood up when it got close to the responders.

“We still don’t know for certain if it was that bear or if it was a bear at all that did this,” Marsh said, adding the decision to put the bear down was made as a public safety precaution. The bear was shot about 100 yards from where the injury occurred, Marsh said.

The area is a corridor for wildlife including black and brown bears, and moose.

Someone who saw the man stumble out of the woods and collapse Wednesday night called police and the man was taken to a hospital.

“When we spoke with medical staff, when they looked at the wounds and injuries, they said they were more consistent with an animal attack like a bear mauling versus knife wounds,” police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro said. Police at the scene saw what looked like the marks of something being dragged, she said.

The man, whose name was not immediately released, was listed in critical condition at the hospital, according to police.

Fish and game biologists also inspected the scene. Marsh said they found the site of the injury about 150 yards into the woods. Responders found blood there and trampled grass and what looked like some sign of a struggle, according to Marsh.

The area where the man was injured is on private property near trails around an area in southwest Anchorage known as the Campbell Creek estuary, according to Marsh. Before the bear was shot, he alerted a couple of walkers about the possibility of a bear attack. He said the pair decided to head in another direction.

“They did an about-face,” he said.

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Follow Rachel D’Oro at https://twitter.com/rdoro

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