Friday, July 8, 2011

Death in Yellowstone

I missed this story a couple days ago, but a hiker was killed by a grizzly bear east of Canyon Wednesday. He and his wife had the bad luck to surprise a bear with cubs, who charged the pair and fatally mauled the man. The Park Service plans no action against the bear, since it seems to have been acting only in perceived self-defense and has no history of aggression against people.

It's only the sixth documented fatality from a grizzly bear in Park history, and the first since two killings in 1984 in 1986 (although perhaps one should also count the death that occurred just outside the arbitrary Park boundary last summer). Both of those victims were hiking alone in bear country, just as I always did. In '84, a Swiss woman died in her tent after taking all proper precautions; Pelican Valley, where she was camping, has been closed to overnight travel ever since. Two years later, a wildlife photographer was killed and devoured by a grizzly near Otter Creek, south of Canyon. His tripod held a camera with a wide-angle lens mounted on it, indicating that he probably made a choice to approach too close to the bear that killed him.1

1. Whittlesey, Lee. Death in Yellowstone, 1995.

1 comment:

Perplexity Peccable said...

Duh! Here, I send you a link on this, and I just KNEW you already knew about it. I should catch up with your blog more often.