The woman, who did not want to be identified, was out for a run with her soldier husband near the the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage when the incident took place on Monday, the Alaska Dispatch reports.
After becoming separated from her husband, the woman rounded a corner in the forest and came upon a bear with two cubs. The bear pounced, inflicting lacerations on the woman’s neck, arm and legs.
“The bear attacked her, defending her babies, seeing her as a threat,” said Mark Sledge, senior conservation law enforcement officer at the base.
It is unclear how long the woman remained on the ground after being swiped by the bear, but she eventually managed to walk around three kilometres through the wilderness towards her truck, until a soldier driving by saw her. She was taken initially to the military base hospital and then transferred to a medical centre.
“The lady had the wherewithal, the will to survive and work her way back to her truck,” Mr Sledge said.
Her husband had doubled back when he realised she wasn’t behind him but had been unable to find her. He was picked up and taken to the emergency room where she was receiving treatment.
“The survival instinct for that woman is phenomenal,” Mr Sledge said. “The trauma that she went through and the walk out was heroic.”
Mr Sledge estimates the bear’s height at between 2.1 and 2.4 metres, judging by its 18cm rear paw pads. The woman is lucky to be alive, he says.
Action against the bear is unlikely, given it is understood to have been simply acting to defend its cubs.
Mr Sledge reminded people to be aware of their surroundings, because spring in Alaska can be dangerous, when wildlife such as bears and moose aggressively defend their young, Fox News reports.