We are currently camping at a commercial campground south of Livingston, Montana, indicated by the top left marker on the map.
The lower right marker is the campground where last week’s bear mauling occurred. It’s about 50 miles from us as the crow flies, but nearly 200 miles by road. The terrain between here and there is some of the most rugged in the United States.
The bears involved in the incident were a mother bear and her three yearling cubs. All were captured. The sow was euthanized and the three cubs were relocated to Zoo Montana in Billings, where they will be quarantined for 30 days to ensure that they are disease free.
The three cubs were underweight for their age, possibly malnourished, and still in their winter coats. The sow was also underweight and had not yet shed her winter coat.
Tests on the body of the adult grizzly show that she was underweight, but not malnourished. She was about ten years old and should have weighed 300 to 400 lbs., but only weighed 225 lbs. No injuries, tumors or other obvious signs of illness were found.
There is plenty of food in the area and other bears there show no sign of malnourishment.
I think it is likely that unusual hunger played a role in the incident, but officials won’t commit to that, saying that it’s possible they may never know what caused the attack.
When we are in Yellowstone, we generally don’t go on the same kind of hikes that we do in other areas. Most of our walking is done in areas like hot springs, geysers, and waterfalls where there are plenty of other people and where it is less likely that there will be bears.
All three of the people attacked were in tents. When bears become an issue around campgrounds in Yellowstone, those campgrounds are closed to tenters and RVers with soft sided campers. Our camper is hard sided.
The bear danger where we will be isn’t any higher than it normally is there.
Not to worry. 😉