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Grizzly attack in Grand Teton was 'surprise encounter'

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Via the Wyoming News Exchange

JACKSON (WNE) — A grizzly bear attacked and injured a man visiting Grand Teton National Park on Sunday.

The 35-year-old Massachusetts man is in stable condition and expected to fully recover. Park officials have not released the victim’s name. The Jackson Hole Daily’s attempts to contact him were unsuccessful by press time Monday.

Meanwhile, Grand Teton biologists and law enforcement rangers are investigating the incident, which occurred near Signal Mountain Lodge.

While few details are available, park officials believe it involved the visitor, two bears and a “surprise encounter.” After being startled, one of the bears apparently attacked the man, Grand Teton Chief of Staff Jeremy Barnum told the Daily.

The park is basing that assessment on initial discussions with the injured visitor and preliminary information from the ongoing investigation, Barnum said.

Grizzly bears are typically territorial and solitary animals. It’s not yet clear why the two bears were together, Barnum said. Among other things, that leaves open the possibility of the two bruins involved in the incident being a sow grizzly with a cub, a male-female mating pair, or siblings.

Asked whether the park is planning to relocate or kill the bear believed to be responsible for the attack, Barnum said, “Not at this time.”

The incident is the first reported grizzly bear attack in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem this year. It follows a slew of high-profile incidents in 2023, including a grizzly attack that left a woman dead in West Yellowstone and a separate attack near Dubois where the victim survived.

Despite the headline-making incidents, bear biologists say attacks remain rare.

This story was published on May 21, 2024.

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