Report Confirms Fatal Bear Attack In Yellowstone

Mar 5, 2012

Yellowstone National Park and the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee have released the results of their investigation into a fatal August 2011 bear attack.

Two hikers exploring the Mary Mountain Trail in Hayden Valley last August discovered the mauled body of 59-year old John Wallace of Michigan. Following several months of investigation, two reports released today confirmed that Mr. Wallace died from traumatic injuries following a bear attack.

Wallace was the second hiker killed by a grizzly in Yellowstone last summer, in the park’s first fatal bear attacks since 1986.  Officials identified a sow named Wapiti as the killer of the first victim, Brian Matayoshi, last July. The bear was euthanized in the fall.

DNA evidence places Wapiti at the scene of Wallace’s attack, too, but Yellowstone National Park spokesman Al Nash other bears were in the area as well. "While we can place some animals at the scene of the attack. We’ll never definitively know what prompted the attack or which bear or bears actually attacked Mr. Wallace."

As grizzlies begin to emerge from hibernation this month, Nash says it’s important to remember to resume proper bear precautions while hiking and skiing. "Whether it’s nice enough where you are to hike, or whether you’re out on snowshoes or cross country skies. Think about going out in groups, and making noise if you can’t see well ahead of you. And it’s time to put that bear spray back on your belt."

So far, there have only been grizzly sightings at lower elevations outside of Yellowstone National Park, but more are expected this month.