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Grizzly bear and cubs captured after fatal campground attack near Yellowstone

A sign at the entrance of the Soda Butte Campground tells would-be visitors to stay out after a man was killed and two people injured when a bear rampaged through the campground.

A mother grizzly believed responsible for killing one person and injuring two after rampaging through a campground near Yellowstone National Park has been captured, along with two of her three cubs.

Associated Press reports that the sow, estimated to weigh 300 to 400 pounds, was lured into a trap fashioned from culvert pipe covered by the dead victims' tent. The bear tore down the tent again and was caught in the trap, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim.

By Thursday morning, two of the bear's year-old cubs had also been caught and the third could be heard nearby, calling out to its mother.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks Warden Capt. Sam Sheppard said he was confident they had captured the attacking bear because it came back to the same site where the man was killed early Wednesday at Soda Butte Campground in the Gallatin National Forest.

Montana wildlife officials have identified the man killed as Kevin Kammer, 48, of Grand Rapids, Mich. The bear pulled Kammer out his tent and dragged him 25 feet to where his body was found, Aasheim said.

The other victims, Deb Freele of London, Canada, who suffered severe lacerations and crushed bones from bites on her arm, and an unidentified male survivor, who suffered puncture wounds on his calf, remain hospitalized in Cody, Wyo.

Freele said that she awoke just before the bear bit her on the arm, and instinctively played dead so the animal would leave her alone.

"I screamed, he bit harder, I screamed harder, he continued to bite," Freele said, adding that she could hear her bones breaking. "I told myself, play dead. I went totally limp. As soon as I went limp, I could feel his jaws get loose and then he let me go."

Freele added that the bear was silent. "This, to me, was just an absolutely freaky thing," she said. "I have to believe that the bear was not normal. It was very quiet, it never made any noise. I felt like it was hunting me."

Officials have said the sow will be killed after DNA evidence confirms it was the same bear that attacked the victims.

"Everything points to it being the offending bear, but we are not going to do anything until we have DNA samples," Aasheim said.

State and federal wildlife officials have not yet determined the fate of the cubs. Sheppard said they are unlikely to be returned to the wild, because they could have been learning predatory behavior from their mother.

The campground, as well as the nearby Chief Joseph and Colter campgrounds, remain closed.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: A sign at the entrance of the Soda Butte Campground tells would-be visitors to stay out after a man was killed and two people injured when a bear rampaged through the campground. Credit: Matthew Brown / Associated Press


Bears confirmed as those involved in fatal campground rampage near Yellowstone; female adult euthanized, cubs to be sent to zoo

One person killed, two injured after bear rampages through campground near Yellowstone

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Comments (13)

I don't think that the cubs should be put down, they are young and deserve a chance. You don't know for sure whether they learned anything from the mother, you are just assuming.

Why don't we just declare open season on all American species of bear and re-instill their fear of man. Also if you are going to camp in an area where bears are, bring something to protect yourself with, a bear is an animal therefore a human's life is more important. To all the tree-hugging-animal-worshiping hippies out there, go live with these "innocent creatures" before you try to tell me its wrong to kill them on sight.

This is a real tragedy. The real irony is that the man who tried to be closer to nature instead of going to a zoo, got the short end of the stick. I think it is very cruel that they put down the momma bear and throw her cubs in a zoo. That animal did not understand that her action was wrong from human standpoint. I did camp before in Yellowstone Park and yes i was terrified of bears. Understood the danger and I do not plan to camp there again. What the hell we have national parks and conservation efforts for if we are going to kill animals when they harm humans that invade their habitats? At the same time, we give life sentences for murderers who killed several people? I agree with some of you here that we should come up with more logical ways to protect humans in these campgrounds..or just not allow them to sleep in these woods overnight. You enter these parks at your own risk. Killing animals where they should be protected is unacceptable. Why momma bear could not at least get the zoo sentence? I hate how humans are trying to control nature no matter what...sometimes i wonder about our species. There is no sense of responsibility in humans anymore towards protecting other species...

The only way to effectively minimize (you can never completely eliminate) bear attacks is to have a hunting season on the animals. That way, they will develop a natural fear of humans and attacks will be much rarer. Not to mention that hunting will also reduce the population size, which should also minimize bear-human encounters. It's high time we stop treating these dangerous animals like cartoon characters and treat them like the prey animals God created them to be. Let the hunt begin!!

Sorry, Gwendolyn, but I just have to challenge you on one point. You said that bears won't attack if they have more room to forage. Maybe -- but what they will do is reproduce and fill that space. So unless you're prepared to remove human habitation from an ever-increasing share of the planet to allow the infinite expansion of forage space for the bears, there will always be zones where human and bear habitat overlap. I recently took a photo of a 400+ pound black bear in my yard, not far from Seattle.

What people tend to forget is that parks like Yellowstone and Glacier see millions of visitors per year. The high country of Montana and Wyoming outside of the parks also hosts many hikers and campers. My home town in NW Montana is surrounded by grizzly habitat. With all of that human activity, bear/human conflicts are remarkably rare.

Robert -- you're right. Bears are generally opportunistic, and will eat whatever they can find. Like humans, they prefer the path of least resistance and will take an easy meal if it's available. Generally, they avoid humans. I have friends who fly for the fish & wildlife folks and they talk about seeing grizzlies step off the trail to let humans pass, in most cases without the humans ever having detected their presence.

Brigette -- sorry, but the critical difference here is that this bear didn't attack while defending her cubs. She has learned to associate people with food, as evidenced by her return to attack the tent a second time. She sees it as a food source. That's not a bear that can safely co-exist with humans, but it is a bear that will teach that behavior to three cubs now, and more cubs later if she is left in the ecosystem. Yes, it's sad that she has developed a behavior that, while natural, crosses the line of what humans will accept. Even permanently closing the parks won't prevent this kind of thing from happening. Eventually, the bear population would expand and intersect with human habitation again, and conflicts will arise.

This is so fricken typical of IDTIOTS who think they can just take care things be killing it. IT'S YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK PEOPLE!!!!!!! What, they didn't see all the signs around before planning on camping out, BEWARE OF ANIMALS! I'm sorry but you take your our risk so why should the mama bear be put down. Or hey here's bright idea, why don't you try putting up fencing or some kind of barrier around the campground!!!!! Stupid people. Leave the fricken animals alone! You can put down a bear but someone murders another and they are locked up living off our tax dollars. Go figure.

"Humans should expect some casualties"
How about: "Bears should expect some casualties".
I want to sleep outside in a tent, I have every right to do so.
I will do everything in my power not to tempt the bear, but my mere existence does not presume I must become bear food if the bear so chooses.
I will "Do what humans do", defend myself.
Please, do not reproduce, and urge all of your friends, neighbors and co-workers not to reproduce, ever.
That way there will be fewer people to encroach on the bear's territory.

This bear was doing what bears do, hunt. Humans need to expect casualties if they continue to go into wild animals territory. We need to leave Mother Nature alone and stop intruding on the animals space. It is terrible that a man lost his life, but when you decide to sleep in a tent in the middle of wild animals, you have to be prepared for something to go wrong. To kill the momma bear and then take her cubs and put them in a zoo is horrible.

Humans need to stop interfering with nature and go about their own business. They should go to a mall or a movie where again man tore down trees to destroy more of the animal's homes. Now animals need to go find another home and most likely be killed for it by intruding on humans.

I think it is horrible that a man was killed and other innocent people injured in this bear attack, but there is no reason to euthanize this mother bear and put her three baby cubs in jail (the zoo) ! WHY? Is it their fault mankind keeps encroaching on their space? Why don't people just leave Mother Nature and her beautiful animals alone? Let's quit pointing the finger and wise up to our own selfishness and ignorance. They are animals! Maybe if they had more room to forage for food they would not be so hungry and this would not have happened! THIS IS SO SAD AND UNFAIR! :(


In fact this bear was "acting like a bear." She was hunting, hunting like a bears do. Bears, like other animals, tend to hunt game that requires the least amount of invested time/danger. A bear will hunt and kill an immature bison before they go after a full-grown bison because the young bison is an easier meal.

Trouble is, the easy kill game this bear was hunting was the people in the campground.

Bears typically avoid contact with humans, not because they recognize that it is "wrong" to hunt them. Bears avoid humans because through many generations, they have learned that humans are a danger to them and their cubs and they instinctively avoid them.

However, a bear does not have to be sick, or have a "tumor" or be "messed up" to behave like this. Perhaps because bears have not been hunted or endangered by humans for so many years in Yellowstone (in fact only a short time ago, people hand-fed Yellowstone bears), this bear has lost its instinctive fear of humans. To this bear, people are simply an animal, like any other animal they hunt. And now, by successfully hunting and killing a human, that bear has learned that humans are much easier to hunt than a bison, or elk.

Once learned, this trait will continue and the bear would kill a person again, not because the bear is sick or evil, but because people are easy to hunt. In this process, she was also teaching her cubs that humans are not something to fear, and that people are easy game.

As for the cubs, I heard a US Fish and Wildlife officer on the news say that the cubs will be placed in zoos. Yes, it is sad that they can't live their life in the wilds, but they are still too young to survive on their own so they must be caught, and having learned from their mother that people are an easy food source, they can never be returned to the wild.

Its sad, and a lot of people will bemoan the killing of "Yogi" but its the price that both people and bears have to pay for humans encroaching on the bear's native habitat.

To prevent bear attacks, and prevent bears from having to be killed once they do learn to hunt people, our only alternatives would be to either kill all the wild bears, or barring people from hiking, biking, camping, or living in areas where there are bears, and none of us want to do that!

Martin you're a witless idiot, so enamored with Disney anthropomorphism of animals that you are missing the point.

The animal was not merely defending a cub, or responding to poor food practices. It was not just "being a bear." Absent aggression to offspring or the presence of food during the fall foraging in preparation for hibernation, they don't do this. This bear came back to "attack" again.

There is something wrong with it, in that it has developed a taste and lust for human flesh. Maybe it has a bear brain tumor. Maybe its just messed up. Who cares, it needs to go.

i think it's outrageous that this bear will possibly be killed! for what?!?! being a bear? what about her cubs? this is ridiculous!

Is it me or is this kind of thing becoming more common. Another bear attacked a man less than a month ago above Sacramento. Click the link below to read the article:



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Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.