Yelling, Running Triggered Grizzly Attack

Couple's behavior made situation worse, report concludes
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 21, 2011 3:02 AM CDT
Yellowtone National Park officials closed this area in July after a grizzly sow killed a man who was hiking with his wife a mile and a half up the trail.    (AP Photo/Matt Volz)

(Newser) – A California couple attacked by a grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park made things worse by running and screaming, officials say. A female bear killed Brian Matayoshi, 57, two months ago after he and his wife encountered the animal and her cubs on a trail. "What possibly began as an attempt by the bear to assess the Matayoshis’ activities became a sustained pursuit of them as they fled running and yelling on the trail,” concluded a report from a team including representatives from multiple government agencies states. “A possible contributing factor to the chase that ensued was that the victims ran from the bear while screaming and yelling."

The report notes that signs in the area warned of bear activity, advised against running away if charged, and suggested the use of bear spray, which the couple was not carrying, the Jackson Hole Daily reports. Nearby hikers called 911 to report screaming and bear roars in the area. "We saw a mother grizzly and her two cubs and we heard human screaming just ahead of us,” one caller told a 911 dispatcher. “It sounded like they were trying to scare the bear. I heard a man’s voice making loud animal noises like he was trying to scare the bear." Park officials concluded that the bear's reaction was normal and decided not to hunt it down.

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