Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials said today the female grizzly responsible for injuring two people and killing a Grand Rapids, Mich. man at a campground near Cooke City this week was euthanized, but the bear’s three yearling cubs will be sent to a zoo as soon as possible.
Bear hair, saliva and tissue samples collected by investigators and tested by a DNA identification lab in Laramie, Wyo., confirmed that the captured adult bear was responsible for the attack. Additional forensic evidence supported this conclusion.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials coordinated an investigation of the attacks at Soda Butte Campground in the Gallatin National Forest, on the northeastern border of Yellowstone National Park.
FWP Supervisor Pat Flowers in Bozeman said based on the circumstances of the three separate attacks on sleeping campers, and following discussions with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the adult bear was euthanized.
Under Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee Guidelines, an agreement among eight state and federal agencies, it is advised that grizzly bears that display unprovoked aggressive behavior toward humans, or that cause substantial human injury, including loss of human life, be removed from the population.
“We want to find out if the unusual predatory behavior of this bear on humans is related to any physical condition or ailment,” said Chris Servheen, the grizzly bear recovery coordinator for the USFWS. “We will perform an autopsy on this bear because this is the only way to determine this.”
Investigators found Kevin R. Kammer, 48, of Grand Rapids, Mich, dead at the campground early Wednesday morning. Two other people—Deb Freele, 58, of London, Ontario; and Ronald Singer, 21, of Alamosa, Colo.—were bitten and later treated at a hospital in Cody, Wyo.
FWP officials, in cooperation with the Gallatin National Forest, the National Park Service, the Park County Sherriff’s Office, and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department worked for two days at the site collecting forensic evidence of the attacks and setting bear traps in and near the campground. The last of three yearling cubs was captured Friday morning.
The Soda Butte Campground, the nearby Chief Joseph and Colter campgrounds, also in the Gallatin National Forest, remain closed.