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First grizzly seen at Denali National Park

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Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 12:15 am | Updated: 6:40 am, Wed Apr 24, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — The first grizzly bear of the season was spotted in Denali National Park and Preserve on Monday.

Park staff doing golden eagle nesting surveys spotted a grizzly bear on Igloo Mountain near 34 Mile Denali Park Road, park spokeswoman Kris Fister said.

This year’s first grizzly sighting was four days later than last year. The first grizzly was seen last year on April 18 near Sable Pass at 39 Mile by workers clearing the Denali Park Road.

It’s not the first grizzly report of the season in the Interior, however. University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers reported a grizzly bear in the Bonanza Creek area, about 10 miles southwest of Fairbanks, during the first week of April. The researchers had set out live-traps baited with scent for lynx and coyotes as part of a snowshoe hare study and the bear triggered two of the traps, one on April 4 and one on April 5.

UAF researcher Knut Kielland put a trail camera up and got a picture of the bear on April 8. The bear evidently returned to the area last week and destroyed another trap Friday, Kielland said. He said tracks in the snow indicate it’s a fairly large grizzly.

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