According to a press release from Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, officials shot and killed a grizzly bear near West Yellowstone, Montana as they were investigating the scene of a bear attack that happened Thursday.

The bear attack involved a 40-year-old man that was mauled just south of the Baker's Hole Campground. The campground is located approximately three miles north of West. Yellowstone. The man was transported to Idaho Falls for treatment of severe injuries where he remained in serious condition Friday.

FWP staff have not been able to talk with the man about the incident, but reports say he was alone during the bear encounter. The man had bear spray with him, but it’s unclear whether he was able to deploy it during the attack.

On Thursday, the U.S. Forest Service issued an emergency public-safety closure in the area. The closure remains in effect.

A group of seven investigators, including FWP game wardens and bear specialists, as well as Forest Service personnel, revisited the site Friday to assess ongoing public safety risks and continue the investigation.

As investigators walked toward the site, they yelled and made continuous loud noises to haze away any bears in the area. Before they reached the site, a bear began charging the group. Despite multiple attempts by all seven people to haze away the bear, it continued its charge. Due to this immediate safety risk, the bear was shot and died about 20 yards from the group. The bear was an older-age male grizzly.

Investigators later found a moose carcass cached within 50 yards of Thursday’s attack. This indicates the bear was defending a food source during the attack.

Recreationists, residents and people who work outdoors can be prepared for a surprise bear encounter. Activities that are deliberately quiet or fast moving, such as hunting, mountain biking or trail running, put people at greater risk for surprising a bear.

Grizzly bears in the lower 48 states are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Management authority for grizzlies rests with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, working closely in Montana with FWP, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services, the Forest Service and Tribal lands. This collaboration happens through the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee.

The information in this article was provided by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.

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