Army soldier, 30, killed in bear attack pictured after wildlife officials find den and cubs near site of mauling

THE US Army soldier that died this week due to injuries sustained from a bear attack has been identified, according to officials.

Staff Sgt Seth Michael Plant, 30, was pronounced dead at a hospital at the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage and another fellow soldier received minor injuries.

Originally from Saint Augustine, Florida, Plant had been at the base since July 2021, said the Army in a statement. He was an infantryman from the 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment.

Lt Col David Ja Nelson, 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment commander said that Plant "always had a smile on his face, he always went above and beyond what was asked of him, and he served as an inspiration to all who had the privilege to know him."

The mauling is being investigated, said the Army.

A den with two brown bear cubs was found near where the incident happened, said the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

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In a statement, the department said a brown bear had approached the area. Officials responded using bear spray, resulting in the bear leaving the area.

Hair collected during a preliminary investigation into the attack was consistent with a brown bear, the department said.

The bear had been in a remote section of the military base, said the department.

Cyndi Wardlow, regional manager with the department, said information gathered so far suggests that the incident was a "defensive attack by a female bear protecting her cubs."

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"We are trying to learn everything we can about what happened to increase public safety around wildlife in Alaska," she said in a statement.

Plant's friends and family expressed their condolences following the news of his death.

His brother-in-law wrote: "Never ever did I think that I was going to ever post your pic in this manner! My heart came out my chest when I got the call at 5am this morning!

"To all my family and friends while on an exercise routine with his men he was in charge of, Seth was attacked and killed by a bear! He had told me the day before that he didn't like the area and they had seen quite a few! He told his men to bring bear spray! He was a leader!"

A family member wrote that Plant was loved by many.

"You were always trying your hardest at anything you did. You always did make family time special for when you would come home. Now I’ll never get to hug you and ask you how you have been.

"I’m praying for everyone in our family for healing and comfort. Please everyone say prayers for our family as we have lost yet another family member to a horrible situation. Thank you Seth for your service."

The location of the bear that was involved in the attack is currently unknown, said the department.

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