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Officials Put Down Yellowstone Grizzly [AUDIO]

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Yellowstone National Park officials have killed a grizzly bear that charged a hiker, caught hold of, and ate food from the hiker’s backpack. The adolescent male grizzly was put down just weeks after a different grizzly killed a hiker.

Yellowstone Spokesman Dan Hottle:

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“As we saw last month, that we don’t capture and kill those bears if they’re defending their cubs because they’re being a bear. And so, this being very rare, we don’t do this very often, maybe for grizzly bears once every three years, we might trap a bear. We do quite a bit of hazing, make sure the visitors are safe, the bears are safe. We just don’t see a bear coming after people for food very often at all.”

The hiker wasn’t hurt Saturday when the grizzly aggressively approached the man then ran at him near the north end of Yellowstone Lake.

Non-defensive attack:

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“And then Saturday it made the final step in actually going after a hiker, and it’s unclear whether or not he went after the hiker just to be aggressive to the hiker or he actually smelled some food in a pack. And it was a catch-22 situation because we normally don’t tell people to drop their packs and run from a bear approaching them, but in this case, the bear was point-blank range and taking off his pack, and throwing it into the bear’s face might’ve saved his life.”

Mr. Hottle said the grizzly that was euthanized by lethal injection Monday had a long history of being hazed from campgrounds by methods such as bean-bags fired from shotguns. The bear was 3-to-4 years old, weighed about 260 pounds, and he was in good condition, said Hottle.

Young bear taking the easy way:

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“It’s almost like a juvenile, sub-adult just being a kid and going out and testing the limits of his territory and his boundaries, so he was deemed to be in very good condition, so there wasn’t a question of whether or not he was starving or he had a limited food source. He had plenty to eat. It’s just once he found an easy food source, that was all he needed.”

Although Hottle was reluctant to the use the catch-phrase “a fed bear is a dead bear,” Hottle said in some cases, it’s true.

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