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Hunter attacked by grizzly bear protecting her cubs in Alaska

Coexisting with grizzlies in Montana
Coexisting with grizzlies in Montana 13:44

A hunter was attacked by a grizzly bear protecting her cubs Wednesday in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in southeastern Alaska, park officials said.

Jason Long from Eagle River, Alaska was alone when a mother bear with two cubs attacked him near the Chisana River, officials said in a statement Wednesday. He activated a distress signal, which triggered an Air National Guard rescue response with the National Park Service.

Long, 39, was taken to a nearby hospital where he was transferred to multiple facilities, officials said. He was last taken to the Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage where his condition was stable.

Park officials said there are no plans to locate the mother bear involved because of "the defensive nature of the attack." Officials warn that female bears with cubs are naturally more defensive and encouraged hunters to be aware of bears when camping, hiking or hunting.

"There is no indication that this bear is unusually dangerous," park officials said.

Last year, a hunter was killed by a grizzly bear in the same park. It marked the first known fatal bear mauling in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve since it was established in 1980.

Grizzly bear and human populations have both risen substantially since 1975, when the bears were protected under the Endangered Species Act, "60 Minutes" correspondent Bill Whitaker reported.

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