Grizzly Bear Eyed in Second Yellowstone Fatality

Officials can't say if same bear involved

By Greg Wilson
|  Sunday, Aug 28, 2011  |  Updated 4:09 AM PDT
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Grizzly Bear Eyed in Second Yellowstone Fatality

AP

This undated photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service shows a Grizzly Bear. Grizzly bear deaths approached record levels for the region around Yellowstone National Park in 2010, with an estimated 75 of the protected animals killed or removed from the wild. (AP Photo/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

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Rangers believe the Michigan man found dead in Yellowstone National Park Friday was the second victim of a grizzly bear in a span of a few miles.

 The latest death was of a 60-something man found on the Mary Mountain Trail, northeast of Old Faithful. Bear scat was found near his body, but officials said the bear may have found him after he died. A 57-year-old man, Brian Matayoshi, of Torrance, Calif., was killed by a female grizzly, several miles away along the popular Wapiti Trail. That bear was allowed to roam free, after officials determined she was protecting her cubs.

"It's very clear that there was a bear around the victim's body," Yellowstone spokesman Al Nash told The Associated Press. "What we don't know is whether this was a bear attack, or whether the bear came upon this man's body after he died."

Nash said it was not possible to say if the same bear was involved.

"They are reviewing and investigating the scene to see if they can find any clues about what happened," Nash said.

Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk said that the latest hiker to be found dead had food in his closed backpack, but that it appears the grizzly did not try to get at the food.

Mary Mountain is a 21-mile (34-kilometer)-long backcountry trail in the central area of the park. It's closed from March to June because park managers list it as "high-density grizzly bear habitat."

Mary Mountain was closed after the man was discovered, along with the Cygnet Lakes Trail and a section of the Hayden Valley west of the Grand Loop Road.

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