Yellowstone National Park officials euthanized a grizzly bear today after DNA tests confirmed it attacked and killed a hiker last week, a park spokeswoman said. The adult female bear was killed because it had eaten part of the Montana man's body and hid the rest, which is not normal behavior for a female bear defending its young, said spokeswoman Amy Bartlett. "If a bear consumes an individual, it's not allowed to remain in the population," she said. "It's not a risk we're willing to take."
The bear's two cubs also fed on the body, park officials determined, but arrangements were being made to transfer them to a zoo, Bartlett said. If no zoo had been willing to take them, the cubs likely would have been killed, too. "Cubs can adapt to a facility much easier, and there is no danger of them learning humans are food," she said. An autopsy confirmed 63-year-old Lance Crosby of Billings died of a bear attack. He worked as a nurse in the park's medical clinics and was hiking alone and without bear spray in the park's Lake Village area. Rangers found his body about a half-mile from the nearest trail.