02 Sep, 2016

FridayPiday: Mike Justa (Rhode Island, 2012)

Mike Justa (Rhode Island, 2012)
02 Sep, 2016

The author and environmental advocate, Margaret Atwood, once wrote “The best way of being kind to bears is not to be very close to them.”

Brother Mike Justa, re-founding father from the University of Rhode Island, would agree.

A 2012 graduate, Justa now works as a wildlife naturalist and tour guide for UnCruise Adventures, an expedition cruise line. Last week, while working as a guide on a hike with 24 guests and another leader, Justa was called upon to protect the hikers from from a deadly Brown Bear attack.

Justa was at the rear of the hike, behind the 24 guests and his co-worker, who was leading the group when the bear attacked his co-worker.

“I couldn’t actually see her (his co-worker)… I got there in time only to see a bear running at me. When someone said there was a bear, I thought, well f***, feeling silly about having only bear spray. But I wasn’t really thinking as the moment unfolded.”

As Justa approached, he quickly sprayed the bear with his bear spray, a specialized pepper spray that was enough to irritate the bear and scare it away from the other hikers. Despite suffering a bite and puncture wounds to his thigh, knee, calve, and shins, Justa was able to immediately radio in a call to their ship, which helped coordinate an emergency airlift from the U.S. Coast Guard. Justa’s co-worker is recovering in a Seattle hospital.

Here’s an article on the incident: http://www.staradvertiser.com/…/cruise-line-ceo-details-al…/

“Being a founding father of AEPi gave me a good experience in organization and communication. The guides work closely – like we had to when we starting up – it’s kind of like our brotherhood.”

Without the bears.


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