An outdoor studies professor at the University of Alaska Southeast was mauled by a bear on Monday while he was leading 11 students on an expedition as part of a Mountaineering 101 class.
The professor, Forest Wagner, is currently listed in stable condition at Providence Hospital in Anchorage, reports local NBC affiliate KTUU.
Wagner, 35, was teaching his students the basics of field mountaineering on Mount Emmerich near the town of Haines, not far from Glacier Bay National Park, when the bear attacked him.
Police say they believe the bear was protecting its cubs.
A student hightailed down the mountain after the thrashing and contacted authorities, Alaska state police told Anchorage CBS affiliate KTVA.
Emergency personnel reached Wagner on the mountain via helicopter, initially transferring the professor to a hospital in Juneau.
None of the students were injured. However, when someone believed they spotted the same bear again, University of Alaska Southeast officials hastily arranged to have the students removed from the mountain.
The students then spent Monday night in the home of a faculty member in Haines (pop: 2,508). They returned to their campus in Juneau on Tuesday, as they had originally planned.
According to his University of Alaska Southeast webpage, Wagner is an assistant professor of outdoor studies. In addition to mountaineering, he teaches courses focused on rock climbing, ice climbing, backcountry navigation, crevasse rescue and outdoor leadership.
“Forest has been coordinating and teaching in the outdoor studies program since 2006,” the webpage reads. He “works in the off season as a mountain guide” and “is most interested in human narrative, northern identity, and sense of place.”
Wagner is also currently a graduate student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. (RELATED: Professor Demands ‘Rape Culture’ Investigation Over Satirical Article Touting Vagina-Shaped Building)