A hiker who was lost in Alaska’s remote Katmai National Park & Preserve was rescued after bear-watching enthusiasts spotted him remotely via livestream on Tuesday, according to reports.
The lost hiker, who has yet to be identified, was caught in windy and rainy conditions. Around 3:30 p.m. local time, he found the Dumpling Mountain bear camera, one of many livestream nature cameras scattered around the park, NPR reported. The bear cam’s livestream video of different parts of Katmai National Park & Preserve, so people can tune in and watch bears from all over the world.
The lost hiker walked right up to the camera and mouthed the words, “Help me.” Moments later, he returned to give the camera a thumbs-down.
Bear-cam enthusiasts who logged on to the steaming website Explore.org to watch bears saw the man and understood his SOS. One of the viewers commented in the video’s comment section, “There is someone distressed on the camera.”
An Explore.org moderator then contacted rangers at Katmai. Within hours, they had located the lost hiker and brought him to safety. According to a spokesperson from the park, he was ultimately unharmed.
Bear Cam saves a hikers life! Today dedicated bear cam fans alerted us to a man in distress on Dumpling Mountain. The heroic rangers @KatmaiNPS sprung into action and mounted a search saving the man. – more details to come. pic.twitter.com/JzgfApK371
— explore.org (@exploreorg) September 6, 2023
Bear Cams to the Rescue
Katmai National Park & Preserve is over 100 years old. It has become renowned for both its livestreamed bear cams and its annual Fat Bear Week. It is a daunting place to get lost, not only because of the severe weather the area experiences, but because it is home to over 2,200 brown bears.
Visitors are required to practice extreme measures of bear safety. The park warns visitors not to venture out on hiking trails alone or after dark.
While the bear cams at Katmai have been used since 2012, they’ve primarily been used for entertainment and education. This is the first instance we’ve seen where it’s helped execute a successful search and rescue.
GearJunkie reached out to Katmai National Park & Preserve for comment on the story but had yet to receive a response at the time of writing. We will update this article when we do.