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U.S. Fish and Wildlife officers shoot and positively identify the responsible bearOn Thursday, a grizzly bear mauled and killed a 70-year-old hiker about seven miles from the park's borders—the first fatal grizzly attack in 25 years. By Saturday morning, U.S. Fish and Wildlife located the adult male grizzly near the east entrance of Yellowstone and shot it after determining it could pose a future danger to humans. DNA testing later confirmed it was the same bear that killed the hiker.
“None of us understand it and apparently never will,” said retired ecologist Chuck Neal, author of “Grizzlies in the Mist.”Investigators attempted to determine if the attack was a natural, defensive attack or the result of unusual aggression. When they were unable to settle on a cause, they decided to remove the bear from the population as a safety precaution.
Neal, a survivor of several close encounters with grizzlies, said Evert had called him last week asking about a sign posted at Kitty Creek warning about bear-trapping activities, and that Evert was “absolutely aware” of the risks of hiking in the area.
“We try to do everything we can to minimize the risks. But we can’t protect ourselves against people that ignore every warning we give, and we can’t protect people against themselves,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife bear coordinator Chris Servheen.Evert was not carrying a gun or bear spray at the time of the attack. Windy, blustery weather had been reported in the area; some speculate that it might've inhibited the bears' senses of detection and led to a surprise encounter.
“The whole thing is regrettable; just one tragedy followed by another,” Servheen said.