Video shows the importance of being bear aware as Eagle River girl has close call

(Courtesy: Dusty Freeborn)
(Courtesy: Dusty Freeborn)(KTUU)
Published: May. 16, 2020 at 5:45 PM AKDT
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A five-year-old girl in Eagle River is safe after unknowingly coming just feet away from a bear in her back yard Friday. Channel 2 viewer, Dusty Freeborn, sent us this surveillance video of the close encounter. Freeborn says his daughter, Lola, was very excited about planting a garden this year. In the video, you can see Lola grabbing flowers from the back of the truck for her dad who is off camera digging holes for the plants.

Freeborn says just as Lola was running up to hand over another batch of flowers, he noticed the bear pop out between their motor-home and SUV. He told his daughter not to be frightened, but there was a bear behind her. Freeborn says his daughter did a great job at remaining calm while he was able to scare the bear away.

"I don’t think the bear knew she was there either because when the bear popped out and I stood up to scare it away it was very surprised that we were there," said Freeborn. "Very eye-opening that a bear can be just feet from you and neither one of you know you were there. Very lucky that nothing happened for sure and will make a great story around he campfire someday.

Freeborn says he hopes this video can serve as a reminder to others as we get out to enjoy more of the Alaska sunshine-- to be bear aware.

According to the Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, if you see a bear that is far away or doesn't see you turn around and go back, or circle far around. Do not disturb it.

If you do see a bear that is close or it does see you it is important to remain calm. The Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation says attacks are rare, but bears may approach or stand on their hind legs to get a better look at you. Officials say to stand tall, wave your arms, and speak in a loud and low voice. Stand your ground or back away slowly and diagonally.

For more information on bear safety, visit the Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation