CODY, Wyo. – A grizzly bear linked by DNA to the killing of a man outside Yellowstone National Park has been tracked down by helicopter and shot dead.
Chris Servheen, grizzly bear coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said the bear was found Saturday by trackers following a signal from a radio collar that had been placed around the bear’s neck.
The bear died about 2 miles from where the body of 70-year-old Erwin Frank Evert’s mauled body was found Thursday. Evert had been hiking near his cabin in the Kitty Creek drainage, east of Yellowstone.
The bear had been trapped and tranquilized a few hours before the attack. Servheen said they decided to kill the bear because it was unclear whether it had some unnatural form of aggression.
Servheen said bears attacking humans as part of their natural aggression, such as protecting their young, aren’t automatically hunted down and killed.
“We felt that we couldn’t be sure. We wanted to err on the side of the public so we removed the bear,” he said.
DNA obtained from bear’s saliva found at the scene of the mauling matched that of the bear that was killed Saturday, Servheen said.
“We have documented that bear that was killed was the bear that killed the individual,” Servheen said.
Chuck Schwartz, head of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team based in Bozeman, Mont., said Friday there would be an investigation into whether required procedures were followed, such as posting warning signs about the grizzly research.
Grizzly bears have been back on the federal list of threatened species since last year.
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