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A polar bear attacked and killed a man as he walked with his girlfriend through a tiny Eskimo village on the Arctic Coast, officials said today.

Such polar bear attacks are rare, said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Bruce Batten.

Officials later tracked down the bear and destroyed it, said Batten, who speculated the bear attacked the man because it was hungry.

An autopsy on the victim, Carl Stalker, 28, was to be held in Fairbanks.

Polar bears migrate from east to west at this time of year, and during the winter months their principal source of food is seal meat, Batten said.

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