A lone backpacker was mauled to death by a grizzly bear in a US national park in Alaska after taking pictures of it from close range, the National Parks Service and reports said.
The victim from San Diego, California, was photographing the animal from less than 50 yards away — contrary to guidelines advising staying away from bears — in Denali National Park on Friday when he was attacked.
"Three day-hikers first discovered an abandoned backpack... Upon further investigation, they saw evidence of a violent struggle, including torn clothing and blood," said the parks service about the attack, the first in the Alaska preserve.
"Initial evidence indicates that the attack occurred proximate to the (Toklat River), although the bear subsequently dragged the remains to a more secluded, brushy cache site," said the statement.
The bear was shot and killed on Saturday, according to the Alaska Dispatch, which cited Denali National Park Superintendent Paul Anderson as saying the victim had been too close to the bear.
The hiker apparently "came upon a bear at the edge of the river. Rather than try to move around the bear and keep a quarter-mile distance, he approached within 50 yards," Anderson said.
He added that the hiker's digital camera, recovered at the scene, indicated that he spent about eight minutes photographing the bear.
"It was grazing, not aggressive in any manner," he said, adding that there were no images of a charging bear, but the pictures showed the hiker got close to the bear.
"The normal behaviour of people is to remain a quarter-mile away from bears and immediately back away if it gets closer," he said.