Two brown bear attacks take place over weekend in Alaska

    JUNEAU, Alaska (KINY) - Two separate incidents of brown bear attacks took place over the weekend, immediately following last week's back-to-back fatal black bear attacks.

    According to the Alaska Dispatch, James Fredrick and Alex Ippoliti were biking on military land near Clunie Lake in Eagle River on Saturday when they heard a rustling in the bushes.

    A brown bear charged at the men, and pulled Fredrick from his bike before turning to attack Ippoliti. Ippoliti sprayed the bear with pepper spray, driving the creature back to the woods.

    After the bear left the area, the men noticed a cub above them in a tree.

    Fredrick received severe lacerations to his neck, and lost part of his bicep muscle.

    Later that same Saturday evening, a second brown bear attack happened outside of Hope, a small Turnagain Arm community. Troopers were called to a reported attack at 11:40 p.m., according to an online dispatch.

    Joshua Brekken, 45, was "walking on Palmer Creek Road when he came across a sow brown bear and cub," The bear charged toward him at approximately 30 yards away; he tried to climb a tree, but the bear "swatted him out of the tree" before taking off into the woods with the cub.

    Brekken took himself to the hospital after sustaining "minor injuries."

    This weekend's bear attacks differ from the fatal maulings of a young runner and a biologist working at a remote mine last week.

    This weekend's encounters were defensive attacks, where a surprised brown bear with cubs lashes out to protect their offspring.

    The Pogo Mine and Bird Ridge maulings appear to have been predatory attacks by black bears, which Marsh said are "extremely troubling and very, very rare."

    Biologists are still investigating the attacks.

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