According to the National Park Service, a Yellowstone National Park employee was attacked and killed by a bear on Friday in a popular off trail area approximately a half mile from Elephant Back Trail.
Park rangers searched for the man after he didn’t report to work Friday morning. The man’s body was found partially consumed and cached near Lake Village Friday afternoon. There were defensive wounds on the victim’s forearms and bear tracks indicating an adult female grizzly and cub were involved in the attack.
The man, whose name is being withheld pending next-of-kin notification, was considered an experienced hiker and a long-term seasonal employee of the park. The man worked for Medcor, a medical company that operates three urgent care clinics in the park.
Park rangers and wildlife biologists collected DNA evidence and set traps despite heavy rains in Yellowstone on Friday and Saturday. Officials noted that if a bear is trapped that was involved in the attack the bear will be euthanized. Concerned about public safety, the park has closed the Elephant Back Loop Trail and immediate area and is encouraging those who visit the park to hike in groups of three or larger. Park officials have posted signs and maps of the closure area are available at park visitor centers.
According to the National Park Service, the grizzly bear population in Yellowstone was estimated to be to between 674 and 839 in 2014. This attack is the first bear encounter at the park in 2015. There have been four bear related fatalities in the park from 2010 to 2014.