A grizzly bear that may have killed and half-eaten an experienced hiker while he traversed a trail at Yellowstone National Park may have been caught.
The bear is a sow and right now, authorities are running to tests to confirm whether or not the animal killed a Montana man, who lived and worked in the area and hiked Yellowstone often, the Washington Post reported.
Officials still haven’t named the man, who went missing on Friday. He worked at a handful of urgent care clinics in the park and was reported missing when he failed to report to work.
The hiker’s body was found by a ranger later that afternoon. They have revealed that the hiker wasn’t wearing a pack, didn’t bring bear spray, and didn’t tell anyone where he was going, the Associated Press added.
He is the first person to be killed by a grizzly in Yellowstone since 2011, and officials aren’t taking any chances. If this animal is the one involved, it will be euthanized.
The grizzly’s cubs may also have been involved, and if they are captured and their role confirmed, they may also be put down, or sent to a zoo or rehab center.
There is still no indication as to what instigated the attack on the hiker, said spokeswoman Julena Campbell.
“It’s impossible for us to determine if it was a surprise encounter… or if it was more of what the biologists call a predatory attack.”
He was found a half-mile from the Elephant Back Loop Trail, partially-eaten and covered — he was known to frequent that trail, NBC News added.
The park is the oldest and first in the US, established in 1872. Since then, few people have been killed by bears. In both national parks and national forests, bears have killed four people from 2010 to 2014.
This death represents the year’s very first encounter with a bear, CNN added. Roughly 670 to 840 grizzlies live in the ecosystem.
The hiker was found with defensive wounds on his forearms, but his exact cause of death is still under investigation. Partial tracks were also found, which hinted to officials that an adult female and perhaps one cub attacked him. Wildlife biologist and rangers fought heavy rains to collect DNA, and traps were promptly set.
Meanwhile, anyone planning a trip to this wilderness area have been put on notice.
“All of Yellowstone … is considered bear country. Hikers are advised to stay on designated trails, travel in groups of three or more people, carry bear spray, be alert for bears, and make noise to help avoid surprise encounters.”
Bears aren’t the only problem. Five visitors have been gored by bison this year; all survived.
[Photo Courtesy Igor Boldyrev / Shutterstock]