Hiker mauled by polar bear during trip through Labrador park
Published Friday, July 26, 2013 4:15PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, July 27, 2013 7:00PM EDT
TORNGAT MOUNTAINS, N.L. -- Parks Canada says a hiker who was travelling with the Sierra Club was mauled by a polar bear this week during an excursion through the Torngat Mountains National Park in Labrador.
A spokesman with Parks Canada says the man in his 40s was bitten by the bear when it attacked his tent at about 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
Peter Deering says the man was fortunate a doctor was in the group to provide treatment before he was airlifted out of the park and flown to a trauma unit in Montreal.
Parks Canada wouldn't release the man's name but The Associated Press has identified him as Matt Dyer, a lawyer from Maine whose wife says he is recovering from his injuries in Montreal.
Deering said it's not unusual for hikers to encounter bears in the park, though attacks are rare.
"The bears hunt to live and in this case the polar bear attacked the gentleman and dragged him out of the tent," he said.
He said Parks Canada officials followed usual procedure by advising the group to hire an armed polar bear guard, but the eight-person group decided against taking the safety measure.
"The Torngat Mountains National Park is an incredible place to visit," said Deering. "It's a fascinating landscape, but we strongly advise all visitors employ the services of an armed Inuit polar bear guard. We can't stress that enough."
He said a review of the attack will be done by the park to see if the policies needed to be changed or strengthened.
The attack happened in the Nachvak Fjord in Torngat Mountains National Park, which covers much of the northern tip of Labrador.