An injured man was rescued on Friday after repelling a bear for a week at an isolated mining camp in Alaska, officials said.
The man, who has not been identified, was seen waving his hands in distress as a helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Force Base Kodiak passed overhead, according to a Coast Guard press release Tuesday.
Crew members first saw an SOS sign atop a cabin in the camp on a trip from Kotzebue to Nome, only seeing the man after turning around.
He was taken to Nome for emergency medical treatment with an injured leg and bruised torso after a bear attack days earlier.
“The man reported that the bear had returned to his camp and harassed him every night for a week in a row,” the coast guard said.
It is not known what type of bear allegedly attacked humans, but brown and black bears are common in the state. Alaska is home to 98% of the country’s brown bear population, according to its Department of Fisheries and Game.
Brown bears are generally associated with bear attacks because they are larger and can show more aggression. A specific subspecies of North American brown bears native to the region is the Kodiak bear, native to the Kodiak Archipelago in Alaska. Other brown bears in the area are commonly referred to as “grizzly bears”.
American black bears, which are smaller than brown bears, are less likely to attack humans and are rarely aggressive towards people unless they protect their young.
Like many animals, bears face the problem of habitat loss as human expansion contributes to deforestation, according to the World Wildlife Fund.