A GRIZZLY bear mauled a nine-year-old boy before being shot dead by a family member in Alaska.
The youngster was seriously injured by the beast as he and a male relative, 41, hunted moose in the Palmer Hay Flats game refuge on Tuesday evening, according to State Troopers.
After the hunters came across the beast near the Glenn Highway, at the end of Matanuska Townsite Road, the animal lunged at the boy before the armed adult opened fire.
First responders arrived at the scene at around 6.37pm as a witness reported seeing the man carrying the child away from the road with "head lacerations."
The pair were taken to a nearby hospital in Matanuska-Susitna Valley where they were both treated for their injuries.
The older man reportedly received assistance for “minor wounds," while the boy was to said to remain in a “fair condition” as of Wednesday afternoon.
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The adult brown bear was reportedly with a cub during the encounter and officials performed a necropsy on the corpse to understand why the animal attacked.
Todd Rinaldi, regional management coordinator for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game told Anchorage Daily News: “That’s one of the efforts that are happening this morning, is to determine if there was actually a cub in the area, if there was a carcass or something in the area and to evaluate the conditions behind the attack."
Alaskan officials had previously been searching for a brown bear in the area which has been terrorising chicken coops – with sightings drying up in recent days after the attack.
But Rinaldi caveated after the necropsy: “There was no evidence to suggest that this bear was involved in the raids on chicken coops reported last week in the Butte”.
Police did not describe how the hunters were related.
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This mauling is the latest animal attack in Alaska after Staff Sgt Seth Michael Plant, 30, died on May 10 following an encounter with a bear at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage.
Another soldier was injured after the bear mauled them both.
Originally from Saint Augustine, Florida, Plant had been at the base since July 2021, the Army said in a statement.
He was an infantryman from the 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment.
Lt Col David Ja Nelson, 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment commander said that Plant "always had a smile on his face, he always went above and beyond what was asked of him, and he served as an inspiration to all who had the privilege to know him."
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