PABLO, Mont. – A student at Salish Kootenai College was attacked at approximately 10:30 Friday morning, by a grizzly bear near the campus dormitories. College administrators reported that the male student’s injuries were not life-threatening and that he is in stable condition.
The student, who has not yet been identified, sustained three bites and was transported to Kalispell to receive medical attention, according to Audrey Plouffe, the school's interim vice president of business affairs.
Plouffe also said that, as of midday, the bear had not yet been caught, though it is being pursued by Tribal Fish and Wildlife personnel, which could be seen patrolling the campus along with college security vehicles.
In response to the incident, the college went on lockdown and students were asked to stay indoors or travel in large groups if necessary. College officials also made the decision to cancel afternoon classes.
“We’re pretty much on a shutdown,” Plouffe said.
“The hard part is getting people to take (the alert) seriously,” Plouffe added. “We mean business and so does the bear.”
The deserted grounds seemed to indicate that students had gotten the message.
"We were told to stay indoors," Thomas Tall Bull said as he leaned out the window of his SKC student housing unit.
Tall Bull, a senior studying fish and wildlife, said he's seen bears before, but never near campus.
"I'm just thankful for the alert and that they're letting people know," he said, referring to the campus alert system, which, among other things, sends text messages to student and college employee phones.
Only a couple hundred yards away, at the clubhouse of the Silver Fox Golf Course, SKC student and Silver Fox employee Reed Anderson Jr. echoed his gratitude for the alert system. He was on the course practicing his chipping when he received word of the attack.
"We knew about it quick," said Anderson.
"Good thing it's raining and nobody is out there (on the course)," Anderson added.