Yellowstone National Park officials have killed the mother bear responsible for the death of Lance Crosby, a 63-year-old Billings, Montana, resident, who died from an attack last week, reports the Powell Tribune.com.
DNA hair samples from the bear confirmed the animal’s identity and that the bear and her cubs had been near the body when rangers found Crosby last Friday near the Elephant Back Loop Trail. According to Yellowstone National Park spokesperson, Amy Bartlett, the bear had eaten part of Crosby and hid his body to return for later feedings; the bear’s actions were not considered consistent behavior from a mother bear defending her cubs. “If a bear consumes an individual, it’s not allowed to remain in the population. It’s not a risk we’re willing to take,” stated Bartlett.
As for the bear cubs, the original plan had been to kill the babies, but a huge backlash from the public opted for officials to reconsider. The babies are due to be sent to a zoo, although that is not the outcome advocates had been hoping. An accredited wildlife rescue had offered to take the cubs and help them to be reconditioned to be freed back into the wild when they were older. According to the Yellowstone National Park’s Facebook page:
“Arrangements have been made to transfer the bear’s two cubs to a facility accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The AZA sets strict standards for facilities with regard to animal handling and care. Details of this placement are still being finalized. The facility is expected to make an announcement on Friday.”
The 259 pound grizzly mother bear was approximately 15-years-old. Officials stated they first sedated the bear and then used a captive bolt to kill her. Animal advocates stated the hiker didn’t take proper precautions and had been hiking alone without carrying any bear repellent spray. “Had this bear just had a defensive attack, we would probably be looking at a different outcome,” Bartlett said.
All of Yellowstone is considered bear country. Park regulations mandate visitors to remain 100 yards from bears and wolves and at least 25 yards from all other large animals. As well as endangering human lives, the lives of the wild animals are also at risk, as evidenced by the death of a hiker and a mother bear. Forever, the fate of her two cubs will now be changed to a life of captivity in a zoo.
Follow the National Pet Rescue Examiner on Facebook.