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Grizzly Bear Found Decapitated, Declawed in Yellowstone River

The bears are protected and it's illegal to possess any part of them
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 4, 2021 4:50 PM CDT

(Newser) – Grizzly bear 394 had a long life. He was 25 when he washed up on the banks of the Yellowstone River in Montana, and thin from age at almost 600 pounds. He was tagged in Wyoming and relocated to Yellowstone National Park where he lived an uneventful life, the Billings Gazette reports. It wasn’t until he died in early June that he made the news. His body was seen intact at the river June 10 when a local sculptor, George Bumann, photographed and measured the bear for his artwork. But when officials went back to retrieve it, his head and claws had been removed. Now authorities are looking for the person who took them, Newsweek reports.

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Grizzlies are a protected species, and possession of any part of one is illegal. “There’s a lot of interest in having the skull or claws off them,” Kevin Frey, a wildlife management specialist in Bozeman, Mont., said. Even if the bear died of natural causes—and it probably did—removing the bear’s head and claws is still illegal, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating the crime. The rest of the bear was left to decompose naturally in the river and no necropsy was done, per the Gazette. (Read more weird crimes stories.)

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