A grizzly bear attacked and killed a mountain biker near Glacier National Park in Montana. Brad Treat, 38, was an off-duty U.S Forest Service law enforcement officer.
Brad Treat was attacked and killed by the grizzly bear on Wednesday afternoon. The forest service agent was riding his mountain bike along the Halfmoon Lake area inside the Flathead National Forest, the Daily Mail reports.
1 killed in grizzly bear attack near West Glacier https://t.co/0esBF4BUue
— Rena Wetherelt (@SkyCountryRena) June 30, 2016
Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry said Brad Treat was riding his mountain bike with a friend when they happened upon the grizzly bear. The pair startled the bear, which proceeded to knock Treat off his bike, the Flathead Beacon reports. The second mountain bike rider was not injured during the attack and immediately went to find help. Treat was pronounced dead at the scene.
Law enforcement officers found Brad Treat’s body at the scene but have not yet been able to locate the grizzly bear that attacked him. A search for the bear remains ongoing.
“Brad was an integral member of our area law enforcement team and a friend to us all. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family tonight,” Sheriff Curry said.
Treat’s high school track coach, Paul Jorgenson, recalls the forest service agent as being a “standout” distance runner.
“He was a really good runner but he was also a kind-hearted person who cared about people,” Coach Jorgenson added.
Brad Treat, of West Glacier, grew up in the nearby town of Kalispell. He was attacked and killed by the bear only about three miles from the Glacier National Park entrance. In an effort to protect visitors and staff, the location near where the attack occurred has been temporarily closed. Guests and staff at the nearby West Glacier KOA Campground were reportedly briefed about the fatal bear attack.
Grizzly bears have been deemed a threatened species in the lower 48 states since the early 1970s. Due to an increase in their population, the interaction and “conflicts” between the bears and humans have also reportedly been on the rise.
There are currently about 1,000 grizzly bears in the Glacier National Park area of the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem. The region also includes the Bob Marshall Wilderness area to the south of the national park. Approximately 700 more known grizzlies live in and near the Yellowstone National Park — about 360 miles south of where Brad Treat was attacked and killed.
Since 2010, six people have been mauled to death by bears in the Northern Rocky Mountain region. Those deaths occurred primarily in the Yellowstone National Park area. According to officials at the Glacier National Park, they typically experience just one or two non-lethal bear encounters each year inside the park’s massive grounds.
The fatal grizzly bear attack yesterday was the 11th such incident at Glacier National Park since it opened in 1910. The most recent attack was in 1998. During that incident three bears attacked a park vendor. The trio of bears mauled him to death and ultimately partially ate the staffer after encountering the man while he was on a hike.
The most widely known fatal bear attack at the Montana national park happened in 1967. Two young women were attack and killed in different areas of the park on a single night.
Two years later, Jack Olsen wrote Night of the Grizzlies, a book about the attack. A documentary based on the grizzly bear attacks was later published under the same name.
Grizzly bears typically grow up to eight feet tall and can weigh up to 800 pounds, the Animal Fact Guide notes. Female grizzly bears give birth in their sleep and usually have two cubs during the same gestation period. Grizzlies are known to have excellent memories and are very intelligent animals. They use their superb sense of smell, which rivals that of a hound dog, to sniff out food at great distances. The excellent swimmers can also run at speeds up to 35 miles per hour over land. While young bears can easily climb trees, this skill dissipates as the bear grows older and large.
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