Victim of grizzly bear attack identified
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YELLOWSTONE– Lance Crosby, 63, has been identified as the victim of last week’s grizzly bear attack in Yellowstone National Park, officials said in park news release.
The Billings, Mont. man was found dead around noon on Aug. 7, about .5 miles from the Elephant Back Loop Trail.
Crosby was a long-term seasonal employee of Medcor, the company that operates three urgent care clinics in the park. He had worked and lived in Yellowstone for five seasons and was an experienced hiker, according to the news release.
The preliminary investigation indicates Crosby was attacked by a grizzly bear and at least one cub-of-the-year.
Crosby’s body was found partially consumed and cached, and partial tracks at the scene.
Investigators have identified what appear to be defensive wounds on Crosby’s forearms, but the exact cause of death has not been determined.
An adult female grizzly was captured in Yellowstone after wildlife biologists set up traps in the area of the attack on Friday evening.
Biologists have obtained scat samples, paw measurements and DNA evidence from the bear, which will be used to determine if the captured bear was the one that attacked Crosby.
DNA evidence was recovered at the scene and will be used to help identify the bear’s involved. A forensic autopsy is scheduled for later today.
If the bear is identified as having been involved in the attack, it will be removed from the population through euthanasia.
“We may not be able to conclusively determine the circumstances of this bear attack, but we will not risk public safety,” said Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk in the news release. “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 Elephant Back Loop Trail and immediate area is closed until further notice, according to a Yellowstone National Park news release. Signs are posted and maps of the closure area are available at park visitor centers.
Yellowstone officials have advised hikers 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.