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Investigation Continues Into Fatal Bear Attack

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Date: September 2, 2011
Contact: Al Nash or Dan Hottle, 307-344-2015

National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior

Yellowstone National Park
P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
September 2, 2011       11-093        
Al Nash or Dan Hottle (307) 344-2015


Investigation Continues Into Fatal Bear Attack

Rangers and wildlife biologists continue to their investigation into last week's a fatal bear attack in Yellowstone National Park.

The body of 59-year old John Wallace of Chassell, Michigan was discovered Friday, August 26, along the Mary Mountain Trail. The investigation and autopsy results confirm that Wallace died Thursday, August 25, of traumatic injuries from a grizzly bear attack.  

Daily reconnaissance flights over the area have resulted in very few bear sightings.

The three bear traps previously set out in the area have been moved to different locations, and five additional traps have been deployed in an attempt to capture grizzlies in the area.

Results of DNA tests of hair samples taken from the attack site and from any bears that may be captured in the area will aid the ongoing investigation into the circumstances surrounding this fatal attack.  

Yellowstone hosts over three million visitors a year, with an average of just one bear caused human injury a year. This is the second fatal bear attack in Yellowstone National Park this year, and only the seventh in the park since it was established in 1872.  

Sunny skies with daytime highs in the 60s could result in a large number of visitors to Yellowstone during the Labor Day holiday weekend.

With such a favorable forecast, campground and lodging in the park could fill very early in the day. Advance reservations are highly recommended. Visitor should plan to arrive early at campgrounds that do not take reservations.

Some visitor services begin to close for the season starting Sunday, September 4. Details are available in the park newspaper handed out at entrance stations, from the staff at visitor centers and information stations in and near the park, or online at http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/index.htm.

All roads to and inside the park are open. There are no construction related delays or closures associated with the Lamar River Bridge project scheduled over the weekend.

The fire danger rating in Yellowstone is currently " High." Visitors are encouraged to be careful with campfires, grills, camp stoves and smoking materials. When actively burning, smoke may be visible from park roadways.

With bison mating season ending, the elk mating season beginning, and bears focused on eating to gain weigh before winter arrives, visitors are encouraged to educate themselves about wildlife safety utilizing the many resources available including the park web site, the newspaper handed out at park entrances, and the signs posted at every trailhead.

Visitors are reminded that park regulations require people to stay at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves and at least 25 yards away from all other large animals.

Hikers are encouraged to travel in groups of three or more, make noise on the trail, and carry bear spray.

Some trails and backcountry campsites are temporarily closed due to fire or wildlife activity. The latest information on backcountry access is available by contacting Visitor Centers or Backcountry Offices.

- www.nps.gov/yell -

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