Wales, Alaska — A polar bear attacked and killed two people in a remote village in western Alaska, state police say.
Alaska State Police said they received a report of the attack at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday in Wales, on the western tip of the Seward Peninsula, KTUU reports.
“Initial reports indicate that a polar bear has entered the community and has been harassing several residents,” the troopers wrote. “The bear fatally attacked an adult female and a young male.”
The bear was shot and killed by a local resident when it attacked the couple, cops said.
The names of the two killed have not been released. Troopers said they are working to notify family members.
The military and the State Department of Fish and Game plan to travel to Wales as soon as the weather permits, it said.
Wales is a small, predominantly Inupiaq town of about 150 people, just over 100 miles northwest of Nome.
Fatal attacks by polar bears have been rare in recent Alaskan history. In 1990, a polar bear killed a man further north in Wales in the village of Point Leigh. Biologists later said the animal was showing signs of starvation, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
Alaska scientists from the US Geological Survey found in 2019 that changes in sea ice habitat coincided with evidence that polar bears were using the land more and that polar bear encounters had increased.
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