Polar bear kills woman and child in Alaska

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A polar bear attacked and killed two people in a remote village in western Alaska, according to state police.

Alaska State Police said they received the report of the attack at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday in Wales, on the western tip of the Seward Peninsula, the KTUU reported.

“Initial reports indicate that a polar bear entered the community and chased several residents,” the soldiers wrote. "The bear fatally attacked an adult female and a juvenile male."

The bear was shot dead by a local resident as it attacked the couple, soldiers said.

The names of the two people killed were not released. The soldiers said they were working to notify family members.

The soldiers and the state Department of Fish and Game plan to travel to Wales once the weather permits, the dispatch said.

Wales is a small, predominantly Inupiaq city of about 150 people, just over 100 miles (161 kilometers) northwest of Nome.

Fatal polar bear attacks have been rare in Alaska's recent history. In 1990, a man was killed by a polar bear further north in Wales, in the village of Point Lay. Biologists later said the animal was showing signs of starvation, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

Alaska scientists from the US Geological Survey in 2019 found that changes in sea ice habitat had coincided with evidence that land use by polar bears was increasing and that the chances of a encounter with a polar bear had increased.

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