U.S. Hiker Matt Dyer Mauled by Polar Bear

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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Matt Dyer, a hiker from Maine, was attacked by a polar bear while he slept in a tent in northeast Canada early Wednesday.

At 1:30 a.m., the bear broke through an electric fence to get to the hikers, then pulled Dyer out of his tent. Other hikers were able to scare the bear away using flares to frighten the animal. The bear dropped Dyer and ran off.

Dyer was airlifted to a Montreal hospital where he is now in “critical but stable condition,” said his lawyer, Leonard Sharon. He was still in intensive care at Montreal General Hospital on Friday night.

"He's kind of a hippie, counterculture guy, the kind of person who would go out in the woods and experience that type of life, get away from the day-to-day practice as far as you can," Auburn lawyer Leonard Sharon said Friday.

Dyer was part of an 8-person hiking group on a Sierra Club journey to the 3,700 square mile Torngat Mountains National Park in Labrador. No other hikers were injured in the attack.

"Visitors regularly encounter polar bears whenever they are in Torngat Mountains, but we've never had an attack like this since the park was established in 2005," a parks official told the Kennebec Journal.

The fjord where Dyer and his group were camping contains remnants of Eskimo settlement dating back some 5,000 years, according to the Kennebec Journal.

Polar bears in the park are common in the summer, when the ice melts and there are unable to hunt seal for about two months.

"Polar bears, as opposed to many other species of bear, they are true carnivores," said Peter Deering, manager of resource conservation for Parks Canada in western Newfoundland and Labrador.

"They are predators. They hunt. They hunt things to eat. What precipitates a polar bear attack is you showing up on the landscape and them wanting something to eat," he said.


Sources: CBC, Kennebec Journal