Sgt Plant, 30, died at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska on May 10 of injuries sustained in the attack, while another soldier suffered minor injuries. Authorities said that they found cubs and a den near the site of the attack.
The infantryman was rushed to the JBER hospital after the mauling where he was declared dead. The injured soldier was treated for his injuries and released.
The bear was likely a female guarding her den, according to a spokesperson from Alaska’s Department of Fish & Game (ADFG). After the initial attack a brown bear was in the area.
Responders deployed bear spray causing the animal to flee before a den with two cubs was found nearby, according to Southcentral Regional Supervisor Cyndi Wardlow.
She said: “From everything we know so far, based on the scene investigation and information from other responding agencies, this appears to be a defensive attack by a female bear protecting her cubs.
“We are trying to learn everything we can about what happened to increase public safety around wildlife in Alaska.”
Hair collected at the scene was consistent with that of a brown bear, the ADFG said.
The organisation said that a bear that is involved in a fatal attack may be killed in the interest of public safety. The location of the bear was currently unknown.
Cyndi Wardlow added: “Our deepest sympathies go out to Staff Sgt. Plant’s family, friends, and fellow military members during this very sad time.”
The commander of Sgt Plant’s battalion, Lt. Col. David J. Nelson called him a “positive and dedicated leader” who brought joy to those who served with him.
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The US National Park Service advises individuals to fight back “with everything you have” against an attacking black bear, while the advice for a brown bear is to play dead unless the attack persists. Brown bears are typically more aggressive than black bears and are responsible for more fatal attacks
Several fatal bear attacks occurred in 2021, however, bear attacks are relatively rare in the United States.
The US Army Criminal Investigation Division, the Alaska Wildlife Troopers, the Alaska Department of Fish & Game and other organisations are reportedly continuing the investigation into the fatal attack on Sgt Plant.