A woman was mauled to death by a grizzly bear while hiking near Yellowstone National Park on July 23, 2023. According to CNN, the victim was identified as 34-year-old Emily Smith, a resident of Bozeman, Montana.
The incident occurred in the Washburn Range area in the northeast corner of the park. Smith was hiking alone on a popular trail when encountering the grizzly bear. It is unclear what provoked the attack, but park officials believe that the bear may have been protecting its cubs.
Smith’s body was discovered by other hikers who arrived shortly after the attack. Park rangers and wildlife officials responded to the area and closed the trail while they conducted an investigation.
Grizzly bear attacks are rare but occur in the Yellowstone area. According to the National Park Service, eight fatal bear attacks have occurred since 1872. The most recent fatal attack occurred in 2015, when a female grizzly bear killed a hiker near the Elephant Back Loop Trail.
Response and Safety Measures
Park officials expressed their condolences to Smith’s family and friends after the incident. They also reminded visitors to the park to be aware of their surroundings and to take precautions when hiking in bear country.
Yellowstone National Park has a comprehensive bear management program includes measures such as bear-proof food storage containers and education programs for visitors. The park also has a team of wildlife biologists who monitor bear activity and behavior in the park.
While it is impossible to eliminate the risk of bear attacks, visitors to Yellowstone can take steps to reduce their risk of encountering a bear. These include carrying bear spray, hiking in groups, and making noise while hiking to alert bears to your presence.
Park officials also advise visitors to stay at least 100 yards away from bears and never to approach them, even if they appear to be calm or docile. Bears can be unpredictable and may attack if they feel threatened or provoked.
The incident serves as a tragic reminder of the risks associated with hiking in bear country and underscores the importance of taking precautions and following.