PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A Maine man who survived a polar bear attack in Canada said that going into the park unarmed was a risk he was willing to take, but he acknowledges, "It's a gamble I nearly lost."
Matthew Dyer, who was dragged from his tent by a bear a month ago, said he wouldn't have traveled to the remote Torngat Mountains National Park in northern Labrador if he'd thought his safety depended on his ability to kill a bear.
"My desire to travel to wild areas like the Torngats will always be outweighed by the rights of the animals in that park to exist," Dyer told The Associated Press in an email. "Life is full of risks, and going to the Torngats unarmed was a risk I was willing to take. It's a gamble I nearly lost."
The polar bear that attacked Dyer on July 26 crossed a portable electric fence designed to protect members of his group. Dyer was saved when a member of his party fired a flare, startling the bear and causing it to drop him.
Members of his group provided first aid for Dyer while waiting seven hours for a rescue helicopter. Eventually, he was airlifted to a Montreal hospital before coming home to Maine.
Dyer, who suffered neck injuries, had surgery earlier this week that left him temporarily unable to speak.
"I'm plugging along with my recovery. The bear busted me up pretty good, but I hope to be back to normal in a month or so," he wrote from his home in Turner.