A female grizzly bear that killed a Montana hiker in Yellowstone National Park has been euthanized after DNA tests determined its involvement in the attack, National Park Service (NPS) said Thursday. They added that the park was making arrangements to transfer the bear’s two cubs to a facility.
The bear partially consumed the body of 63-year-old Lance Crosby and hid it, a pattern of behavior not considered normal for bears, according to park officials. They also said that the cubs were at the attack site when Crosby’s body was found by park rangers Friday, near the Elephant Back Loop in the park’s Lake Village area.
“An important fact in the decision to euthanize the bear was that a significant portion of the body was consumed and cached with the intent to return for further feeding. Normal defensive attacks by female bears defending their young do not involve consumption of the victim’s body,” NPS said, in a statement.
The cubs would be sent to a facility accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the park said, adding that the facility will likely announce Friday whether it would take them. "Cubs can adapt to a facility much easier, and there is no danger of them learning humans are food," Amy Bartlett, a park spokeswoman said, according to the Associated Press. On Monday, NPS had stated that if the cubs do not get a permanent home they will be euthanized.
About 674 to 839 grizzly bears are in the Greater Yellowstone region, which is one of the last remaining large ecosystems in the northern temperate zone, according to NPS.
The last death from a bear attack in the park was recorded in 2011, the first in 25 years, according to the NPS. There have been only eight fatalities since the first recorded bear attack in the park, in 1916, Julena Campbell, another spokeswoman for the park, reportedly said.