DNA shows Eagle River bears killed were not to blame for attacks

Three bears shot and killed in Eagle River are not the bears responsible for recent maulings, including a fatal attack, the Department of Fish and Game announced Thursday.

The bears’ DNA did not match evidence at the scene of the June maulings near the end of Hiland Road, Fish and Game spokesman Ken Marsh said.

The bear blamed for the attacks remains on the loose.

Marsh said it was a sow brown bear that had attacked and killed Michael Soltis, 44, who lived in the area and was out for a hike.

Soltis was reported missing, and police said the bear was apparently guarding his body.

Two days later, the sow attacked another a man, who was in a search party looking for Soltis. The man survived.

Efforts to trap or find the bear have been ongoing since then.

Marsh said department personnel shot a sow bear and two yearling cubs on Friday near where Soltis’s body had been discovered roughly three weeks after the attacks.

But DNA tests showed the sow bear did not attack either of the men.

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