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Grizzly Bear Kills Man Near Yellowstone Park

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(June 19) -- Authorities say a grizzly bear that killed a 70-year-old hiker near Yellowstone National Park is still on the loose, and are cautioning residents to beware.

The attack happened Thursday in the same area where researchers had trapped and tranquilized a huge adult male grizzly earlier in the day, in the Shoshone National Forest about six miles east of Yellowstone. Scientists with the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team had put a radio collar on the bear and are now trying to trap it again, then use DNA testing to see if it was indeed responsible for the attack.

Erwin Frank Evert went hiking around 12:45 p.m. in the forest's Kitty Creek area, and when he didn't return, his wife went looking for him and met one of the bear researchers. They went back to the spot where they'd left the bear to wake up after it was tranquilized, and found Evert's body. Details were reported by several news outlets.

Officials have closed off the Kitty Creak area indefinitely. "There have been Forest Service people in the area talking to people who live in those cabins, and at the lodges around there, letting them know what's going on," forest spokeswoman Susan Douglas told reporters on Friday.

In 1983, a grizzly bear that had been captured 20 times and drugged 12 times dragged a man out of his tent at a campground near Yellowstone and killed him. After that attack, there was speculation that bears can sometimes become more aggressive after they've been trapped and tranquilized.

The head of the grizzly study team, Chuck Schwartz, said an investigation is being launched into whether researchers followed correct procedures, like posting warning signs about the grizzlies they were studying.

"My heart goes out for the victim and the family involved in this. Nobody would want anything like this to happen," Schwartz, who is based in Bozeman, Mont., told The Associated Press.

The team is made up of state and federal biologists who study the habitats of grizzly bears in U.S. parks. Grizzlies have been on the U.S. government's list of threatened species since last year.

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106 Comments

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Luther

I think that he should have had a gun with him to protect himself. You do not go into a bears teritory with out it. These bears are not afraid of humans or anything else. If you invade their home you can expect to be attacked. I am sorry that he was attacked, but he should have known better than to appoach a grizzly bear, especialy one that appeared sick.

June 25 2010 at 7:37 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
thomemptyc

These National Parks are different than Theme Parks- I think many people get them confused- When one goes to Yellowstone, one goes for the nature and bears are part of that- "You pays ya' money and ya'takes ya'chances"

June 25 2010 at 12:40 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
wtmorton73

Damned bears. They'll do anything for a pick-a-nick basket. Even murder.

June 24 2010 at 11:24 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Mr. Merrill

Someone dropped the ball here. An observer should have been present to monitor the bear. Unless the bear was tagged and then left to it's own devices. It is possible that Mr. Evert happened upon a sleeping bear and his curiosity got the best of him. In Nevada and California, Black bears are thick in the Spring. They can be frightened easily and made to avoid humans. Grizzlies normally avoid humans but are much more aggressive.

June 23 2010 at 6:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tjstieg

Do you think they PO'd the bear or what. The widow should sue the park service for not adequately warning people that they had just riled this monster .

June 23 2010 at 4:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
annatrope

People who would never DREAM of feeding a bear will still leave apple cores, spilled snack foods and sandwich crusts in their wake, leading bears to associate humans with food -- if not "With" them, then "On" them, or "In" them!

June 20 2010 at 7:57 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
ds5861

Although my heart goes out to the hiker and his family, we cannot make the world 100% safe. It seems to me to be a matter of deciding to eleminate the wild animals or deciding to allow some level of known risk when hiking or doing other recreational activities. I suggest leaving the bear alone, since it is his habitat, and allowing hikers to be forwarned and armed because everyone has a right to defend themselves.

June 19 2010 at 11:36 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ds5861's comment
Hi Guy

I agree, however it seems like the research team failed to take the proper precautions that could have prevented this. If signs and danger tape had been placed on the trail well away from where they had left the grizzly to wake up this man might still be alive. If the bear they are tracking is proven to be the one which attacked the hiker and these researchers did not follow the proper safety measures there could be criminal homicide charges and a massive lawsuit against them and those who they work for - and rightly so.

June 21 2010 at 7:33 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
unclutterednest

Bear mace would have spared the life of the man, as well as the bear, which if found will be killed as per standard procedure...they don't relocate bears that have killed a human.

June 19 2010 at 11:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
burkswest

For those interested in more information, please read this. Mr. Evert, who was well-aquainted with the area, knew they were looking for this grizzly and CHOSE to hike into the capture site apparently without benefit of bear spray or firearm. It was a puzzling, tragic, and deadly decision. This was outside of the Park in the Shoshone National Forest. The Interagency Grizzly Bear team is a group of highly trained scientists and wildlife experts interested in the bears' best interests. These animals are not cute little defenseless teddies. They are to be respected, and with humans encroaching more and more on thier habitat, caution must be observed. My condolences to the family.

http://trib.com/news/state-and-regional/article_c8df3903-eb4f-5ddc-b410-d7a44f249ee3.html

June 19 2010 at 10:16 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Erbie's

I thought these animals were supposed to be monitored until they were awake and alert enough to go off on their own? If they left a doped up bear there and the hiker walked up on it as it was waking up, there is no telling what could have happened,the bear would be afraid and would not take any chances on anything attacking it at that point and the hiker seeing a "dead" bear on the trail would naturally walk up to it, curosity.

June 19 2010 at 10:02 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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