A "partially consumed" hiker killed by a grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park last week was discovered by authorities on 7 August. The National Park Service announced the male hiker was found near Elephant Black Loop Trail, near Lake Village, with what appeared to be defensive wounds. An exact cause of death has not been determined, NBC News reported.
"Based on partial tracks found at the scene, it appears that an adult female grizzly and at least one cub-of-the-year were present and likely involved in the incident," the park service said in a statement. CNN reported that a forensic autopsy of the victim is scheduled for 10 August.
According to the National Park Service, the Montana man was an experienced hiker who had lived and worked in Yellowstone for five seasons. The hiker, who is not being identified pending family notification, was reported missing early on 7 August after he failed to report for work at Medcor. He was found by a park ranger about 0.5 miles from the trail.
The park service announced that wildlife biologist had set bear traps in the area. If any bears trapped are found to have been involved in the attack, they will be euthanized, the National Park Service announced.
"We may not be able to conclusively determine the circumstances of this bear attack, but we will not risk public safety," Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk said. "We are deeply saddened by this tragedy and our hearts go out to the family and friends of the victim as they work to cope with the loss of someone who loved Yellowstone so very much."
The agency's statement warned that the park is considered bear country and that, "Hikers are advised to stay on designated trails, travel in groups of three or more people, carry bear spray, be alert for bears, and make noise to help avoid surprise encounters."
According to CNN, in 2014 the grizzly bear population in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem were estimated to be between 674 and 839. A park spokeswoman told reporters this was the first human-bear encounter in the park in 2015, but there have been five non-fatal bison gorings.