Gun-slinging patrolwoman chases off polar bear from Alaska home

Gun-slinging patrolwoman chases off polar bear from Alaska home

(Reuters) - A gun-slinging Alaska wildlife manager chased off a massive polar bear that broke into an 81-year-old's house in a remote community to feast on a drum of seal oil, the Alaska Dispatch News reported.

Armed with a 12-gauge shotgun and non-lethal firecracker slugs, officer Ruby Kaleak rushed with a partner to a home where a petrified resident reported a polar bear break-in on Friday, the newspaper said on Monday.

While scanning the property, Kaleak suddenly saw the bear pop up, filling the entryway door-frame of Betty Brower's home in Kaktovik, a 300-resident community in the North Slope Borough. The 81-year-old was home alone and hiding under a large window from where she managed to radio for help.

"I was shocked. It was humongous ... Just the neck and head was half the size of me, and I'm 5 (feet) 2 (inches) (1.57 cm)," Kaleak told the paper after the encounter. "My mind was going in circles at the time."

She and her fellow wildlife manager were able to chase the bear away from the house and no one was injured, according to the report.

Neither Kaleak nor state wildlife or village officials could immediately be reached for comment.

Bears in the area are drawn to the village for hunters' leftover whale parts and often smell food in arctic entryway porches used by some residents to store food.

Kaleak told the newspaper she has never had to fire a deadly slug at bears advancing on people. The bears seem unafraid of vehicles but when she jumps out of her truck they scurry off.

"I tell them: Yep, you better run!'" Kaleak said, according to the newspaper.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle)