The US army as identified a soldier who died earlier this week of injuries sustained during a bear attack in a military training area in Alaska.
The army said Staff Sgt Seth Plant, 30, was pronounced dead at a hospital on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage following the mauling, which happened on Tuesday. Another soldier received minor injuries in the attack in a training area west of Anchorage.
Plant was from Saint Augustine, Florida, and was an infantryman from the 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment.
The Alaska department of fish and game said a den with two brown bear cubs was found nearby.
The army says the mauling is being investigated and the bear attacked in a remote section of the military base, the department said. Cyndi Wardlow, a regional supervisor with the department, said information gathered so far suggests this was a “defensive attack by a female bear protecting her cubs”.
After the attack, a brown bear approached the area and officials who responded to the attack used bear spray, which deterred the bear. It left the area.
Lt Col David Nelson, 3rd Battalion, said 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”.
The wildlife department said it can kill bears that are considered public safety threats or that are involved in deadly attacks. It said that game cameras the department placed during its investigation indicated that an adult bear had returned to the area and left the den site with the cubs. Their current location is not known.