A man was attacked and killed by a female grizzly bear at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming on Wednesday after a run-in with the animal’s cubs.
According to a statement from the U.S. National Park Service, the man, whose identity is being withheld, approached the bear’s cubs while he was hiking with his wife.
The attack occurred 1.5 miles from the Wapiti Lake Trail. According to Reuters report, a group of hikers heard the wife crying for help after the attack before the park ranger was called to bring in assistance.
“It is extremely unfortunate that this couple’s trip into Yellowstone backcountry has ended in tragedy,” said superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, Dan Wenk, in the park’s statement. “Our heart goes out to the family and friends of the victim as they work to cope with their loss.”
The National Park Service said that the bear involved in the attack has not be captured or removed due to the fact that there is not enough information to determine if the animal has had run-ins with other park visitors in the past.
“If we have an aggressive bear that continually poses a threat to human safety, then we work to remove it from the ecosystem,” said Al Nash, a spokesperson for Yellowstone.
But Yellowstone spokeswoman Linda Miller said that the grizzly bear was not wrong in defending her cubs and behaved normally in the situation. Miller said the animal would not be killed as a result of the attack.
The U.S. National Park Service statement claims that attacks by bears are not common saying, “Attacks by bears are extremely rare. No visitors were injured by bear in the park in 2010. This is the first bear-caused human fatality in Yellowstone since 1986.”
An unprovoked grizzly bear did killed one man and injured two others in an night time attack in Montana outside of Yellowstone in last July, according to Reuters.
The park service noted that a sign warning of bears was posted at the trail where the incident occurred and that bear sightings in the area are common.