Man injured protecting ten children from black bear inside Juneau home

Bear #153, who is not suspected in Friday’s incident. (Courtesy of Laurie Craig, USFS)

A black bear entered a Juneau home late Friday evening. It walked through the arctic entryway and into the living room.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Roy Churchwell said the bear surprised three adults and ten children inside.

“Mom was able to gather up the kids and lock them in and back room with herself while the father and a friend tried to shoo the bear out of the main living area,” Churchwell said. “The bear did jump on the friend at one point as they were trying to shoo it out.”

Anchorage Daily News reported that the Lotts’ two-year-old tried to touch the bear, but none of the children were harmed.

The Lotts’ friend sustained puncture wounds and scratches. They were minor injuries, but the Juneau Police Department reports he sought medical attention at Bartlett Regional Hospital.

Churchwell believes the man’s injuries were likely caused by the bear’s claws.

The bear then clawed its way out of the entryway, damaging it, before escaping into the woods behind Switzer Village.

A bear trap was placed behind the home on Saturday. It trapped a smaller bear previously observed getting into garbage in the area. That bear was euthanized.

But the home intruder is still at large. Based on descriptions, it is an older, male black bear about 250 to 300 pounds with a faded ear tag. If it’s captured, it will likely be euthanized, too, since it has already threatened life and property.

Churchwell said bears seem to be more prevalent in town this summer because their normal, natural food sources are not readily available.

“There aren’t hardly any fish in the rivers for the bears to eat currently, and the berry crop seems to be pretty minimal and failed, maybe even failed in some areas,” Churchwell said.

This isn’t the first time bears that have sniffed out potential food sources in a residential area recently. Just last month, downtown Juneau residents reported bears getting into their vehicles.

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