Yellowstone Begins Grizzly Bear Studies, May Help Locate Bear in Last Week's Killing

Photo courtesy of Yellowstone National Park

Biannual grizzly bear research in Yellowstone National Park begins today and lasts through October 20. This comes less than a week after the second fatal grizzly attack in the park this year.

Park officials hope that the regularly scheduled fall research may help them discover the bear that killed John Wallace of Michigan while he was touring the park last Friday. Research involves baiting and trapping grizzlies.

Yellowstone Spokesman Al Nash explains what park officials have done following the attack in working with the Inter Agency Grizzly Bear Study Team.

The study will stage trapping near Mary Mountain Trail near the west end of Hayden Vally where the attack took place and where there is heavy bear activity. He went on to explain what visitors should be aware of.

The IGBST is made up of reps from the US Geological Survey, the National Park Service, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Eastern Shosone and Northern Arapaho Tribal Fish and Game Department, and states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, according to Yellowstone National Park. It has monitored bears, their natural ecosystem and their impacts in the park since 1973.

Park Officials: Just 7 bear attacks in 140-year history of park

Since the park's inception in 1873 there have been a total of seven fatal bear attacks, with two of those occurring this summer. Nash says they have an average of about one bear-caused human injury per year.

Yellowstone National Park urges visitors to avoid bears altogether, and Nash gave the park's recommendation to avoid a bear encounter.

This past June, Brian Matayoshi of California was killed by a grizzly near where last week's attack took place. Matayoshi's wife was with him at the time of the attack and survived.