Alaska: A 24  year  old mother and her child are killed by a polar bear

Alaska: A 24 year old mother and her child are killed by a polar bear

A remote Alaskan village is plagued by an extremely rare attack. A 24-year-old woman and her baby have been killed by a polar bear, a species particularly threatened by climate change.

The bear entered Wales Tuesday, a small town on the Bering Strait coast, “and chased several residents,” according to the first elements released Wednesday by that American state’s police force. “The attack allegedly took place in the village near the school” and “the animal was shot by a resident” when he attacked young woman Summer Myomick and her one-year-old son Clyde Ongtowasruk.

A particularly unusual attack in January

Police and specialized agents must be sent to this village of about 150 people, inhabited by the Inupiat tribe. However, according to police, they are currently facing “poor weather conditions” that prevent them from going there.

“Historically, it’s very rare for a polar bear to attack and kill a human anywhere in the Arctic,” says Geoff York of Polar Bears International. “It happens even more rarely in the northern Arctic in mid-January, where ice is plentiful and polar bears are usually out on the pack ice to hunt for seals. According to the NGO, 20 people were killed in a total of 73 polar bear attacks worldwide between 1870 and 2014. The last fatal attack in Alaska dates back to 1990, according to Geoff York.

In general, the melting of sea ice caused by global warming is driving sea turtles to the continent more regularly and “increasing the frequency of interactions between polar bears and humans,” the scientist continues. But “historically, most attacks have occurred between late July and early December, during the ice-free period.” The attacks are usually carried out by “young bears (…) who are ravenous because their bodies need energy for their growth” or “end-of-life bears who have difficulty fighting other bears for good hunting grounds.” .

In Alaska, polar bears are found only on the extreme north and west coasts of the state. Climate change, which is melting its main habitat, the pack ice, is threatening the bear species.