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Yellowstone Bear Attack

Grand Loop Road (Hayden Valley), Yellowstone National Park

On August 7, 2015, 63-year-old Lance Crosby of Billings was found dead approximately one-half mile from the Elephant Back Loop Trail in a popular off-trail area in the Lake Village region of YNP. The man’s body was partially devoured, but officials said they found defensive wounds on his arms that indicate he didn’t go down without a fight.

A few days before August 7, I recorded the mother grizzly bear (who killed Mr. Crosby) and her two cubs searching for food. The bears are in the meadows to the south and west of Grand Loop Road (Hayden Valley). The Grizzly mom's coat appeared raggedy.

On August 7, 2015, at approximately 1400 hours, the investigative team heard a cub or cubs bark/bawl several times and observed an adult size bear with dark brown legs and light brown sides running from the body burial cache. Due to tree cover and the short duration of the sighting, it could not be determined with certainty whether the adult bear was a grizzly bear or black bear. The sighting of an adult bear with cubs running from the burial cache indicates that this bear was at the body cache when it sensed the investigation team at the site and fled. On August 10, 2015, at approximately 1500 hours, the trapping team and helicopter personnel observed a large adult, cinnamon colored black bear on Elephant Back Mountain approximately 100 – 150 m (109 - 164 yd) below the body burial cache. Because no black bear tracks, hair, or DNA were found at the body, there is no evidence linking this black bear to the death or consumption of Mr. Crosby.

"An important fact in the decision to euthanize the bear was that a significant portion of the body was consumed and cached with the intent to return for further feeding. Normal defensive attacks by female bears defending their young do not involve consumption of the victim’s body."

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