July 29, 2013 12:30 pm

Man mauled by polar bear in Labrador remains in critical condition

A polar bear stands in his enclosure at the Tierpark Hagenbeck zoo in Hamburg, northern Germany.

AXEL HEIMKEN/AFP/Getty Images

MONTREAL – An American hiker who was mauled by a polar bear last week in Labrador remains in stable but critical condition in Montreal.

The Montreal University Health Centre released a statement in conjunction with the victim’s wife over the weekend, asking for the media to respect the patient’s right to privacy.

“My husband is in critical but stable condition, he is a strong man and he is making improvements every day,” said Mrs. Dyer in a statement.

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“He has received incredible care in Canada and at the Montreal General Hospital; I believe that’s why he is still alive. Thank you to everyone for their concern.”

Parks Canada confirmed that a hiker travelling with the Sierra Club was mauled by a polar bear during an excursion through the Torngat Mountains National Park in Labrador.

A spokesperson with Parks Canada said that the man in his 40s was bitten by the bear when it attacked his tent at about 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

Peter Deering said the man was fortunate a doctor was in the group to provide treatment before he was airlifted out of the park and flown to a trauma unit in Montreal.

Although Parks Canada wouldn’t release the man’s name, The Associated Press has identified him as Matt Dyer, a lawyer from Maine.

Deering said it’s not unusual for hikers to encounter bears in the park, but attacks are rare.

“The bears hunt to live and in this case the polar bear attacked the gentleman and dragged him out of the tent,” he said.

He noted that Parks Canada officials followed usual procedure by advising the group to hire an armed polar bear guard, but the eight-person group decided against taking the safety measure.

“The Torngat Mountains National Park is an incredible place to visit,” said Deering.

“It’s a fascinating landscape, but we strongly advise all visitors employ the services of an armed Inuit polar bear guard. We can’t stress that enough.”

He said a review of the attack will be done by the park to see if the policies needed to be changed or strengthened.

The attack happened in the Nachvak Fjord in Torngat Mountains National Park, which covers much of the northern tip of Labrador.

© Shaw Media, 2013

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