September 20, 2021

Yellowstone National Park Bear Allowed To Live

“Officials at Yellowstone National Park announced that they would not capture or kill a grizzly bear that fatally attacked a park visitor on Wednesday, July 6, 2011, according to a Reuters report. Park Superintendent Dan Wenk explained that, “”The bear’s behavior is consistent with a bear who was in a defensive posture. We did not see anything predatory in terms of the bear’s actions.”"

Yellowstone National Park Bear Allowed To Live

The attack occurred when the victim and his wife emerged from a forested area of trail into an open meadow and accidentally surprised a mother bear and her two cubs. Although the couple was 100 yards away when they noticed the bear, and began walking in the other direction, when they looked back, the bear was charging.

The bear attacked the male hiker first. The woman reportedly survived by falling to the ground, playing dead and letting the bear grab her daypack – she was not injured. When the bear left she called to other hikers for help. Her companion suffered multiple bite and clawing injuries. This is the first time that a bear caused a human death in Yellowstone Park since 1986. That year, a grizzly killed a photographer when the photographer approached the bear too closely.

Park authorities report that the couple in the current attack generally responded appropriately. The best action, according to officials, when attacked, is playing dead. Running is not advised because bears will often charge as an intimidation tactic and will veer off or stop at the last second. Hikers can also reduce their chance of being attacked in the first place by making loud noises while they are hiking so that bears will be aware of their presence, and they can carry bear spray to use as a deterrent in an attack.

Park officials are talking several steps to make sure that the area around the attack is safe for visitors. Currently trails in a 100 square mile area around the site of the incident are closed. The area will not be reopened until officials are sure it is safe for visitors. Additionally, the bear believed to be involved in the attack is being monitored from the air. Officials also collected DNA from the bear to use for comparison in future incidents.

Officials stated bear activity warning signs are posted in the area now but that no other bear activity has been reported in the area. An unusually snowy winter means that bears stayed at lower altitudes in the park longer into the summer than normal this year.”

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Initial Reuters Article About the Bear Attack

Yellowstone National Park’s Information on Bear Injuries and Fatalities

Yellowstone National Park’s Information on Minimizing Bear Encounters

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