A female bear was killed over the weekend on a trail near West Yellowstone, Mont., authorities said in a statement Monday, noting that grizzly bear tracks and a bear cub were found near the scene.
The body of the woman, who has not been identified, was found Saturday about eight miles west of West Yellowstone, a town of about 1,200 residents, about a mile from Yellowstone National Park. Officials said she suffered injuries from a bear attack.
Custer Gallatin National Forest officials are part of this Yellowstone EcosystemWest issued an emergency closure to areas west of Yellowstone over what it described in a statement as “human safety concerns” related to bear activity.
According to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks A statement on Monday That a hiker found the woman’s body. The woman is believed to have been alone at the time of the encounter with the bear, and no bear spray or gun was found at the scene, the department said. No bears were found.
Saturday morning, Custer Gallatin National Forest warned on Facebook Buttermilk Trail and surrounding areas were closed due to bear movement.
Grizzly bears, that is A federally protected subspecies Brown bears roam throughout Montana and are protected by the Endangered Species Act in all 48 states. Their populations have expanded across the state in recent years, and in some cases, grizzlies have been found in places where they haven’t been seen in more than a century, including the Briar Mountains, where the species hasn’t been seen since the late 1800s, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks said in a statement.
That expansion “improves long-term prospects for population stability” for bears, but it also “presents new challenges” for Montanans because the animals can damage property or injure people, Department said.
Officials have warned visitors that “Be careful,” prompting concern among some residents, who report more sightings.
Grizzlies are larger than black bears, with adults standing over eight feet tall when reared on their hind legs. The average weight of a grizzly bear is 400 to 500 pounds for males and 250 to 350 for females. And bears can run at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour.
Last month, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks released Undated photo A grizzly bear stands atop a shed, its long and curved claws slicing through logs.
This month, the department said a grizzly bear was captured and euthanized after “multiple conflicts with people” at a reservoir in Flathead County, about 380 miles northwest of West Yellowstone. “Food is conditioned and habituated” to male grizzly bear populations. Department saidThis usually occurs when bears seek or obtain food from people, destroy property, or exhibit aggressive behavior toward people.
However, grizzly bear attacks are extremely rare. Since Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872, only eight people have been killed by bears in the park, most recently in 2015. According to the National Park Service. Since 1979, 44 people have been injured by grizzly bears at the park, which had more than 118 million visitors during that time.
“More people have died in the park from drowning (125 incidents) and burns (falling into hot springs, 23 incidents) than have been killed by bears,” the service said.
Still, the danger is real and officials have several tips for Montanans: Know how to carry bear spray; Travel in groups if possible and plan to be out during daylight hours; Avoid carcasses and concentrations of crows and other scavengers.
Officials also advise residents to watch for signs of bears, such as torn logs and rocks, partially consumed animal carcasses and bear litter. Park or trail visitors should honk to alert bears to their presence, especially when they are near streams or walking through dense forest.
The final tip is simple: “Don’t approach the bear.”
A town-hall meeting to discuss the bears is scheduled for Monday evening in Big Timber, a town of about 1,600 residents more than 90 miles north of Yellowstone.