Officials from Yellowstone National Park have released a statement confirming they have euthanised a bear, following the killing of a hiker last week.
The body of Lance Crosby, 63, was discovered last Friday around a kilometre from the Elephant Back Loop Trail in a popular area of the park.
Autopsy results have confirmed that his death came as a result of the attack and as such DNA samples were used to identify the actual bear who committed the attack. After conclusive evidence identified the female grizzly bear as the attacker, officials made the decision to put the bear down.
Crosby was a seasonal employee at Medcor, a company that operates urgent care clinics within the park. He had been living and working within the part for five seasons and was said to be an extremely seasoned hiker.
Officials were quick to point out their reasoning behind the decision, stating that the behaviour following the attack was not indicative of a bear that was just being protective.
“A significant portion of the body was consumed and cached with the intent to return for further feeding. Normal defensive attacks by female bears defending their young do not involve consumption of the victim’s body.”
“The decision to euthanize a bear is one that we do not take lightly,” Dan Wenk, superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, told the National Park Service. “As park managers, we are constantly working to strike a balance between the preservation of park resources and the safety of our park visitors and employees.”
Although the statement implies that rangers had no choice in the matter, the public has condemned the decision, crying poor judgement and an example of humans seeking control over wild animals.
One commenter on the Yellowstone Facebook wrote: “Stop saying the mother bear was ‘euthanized.’ Euthanasia is used to end an animal’s suffering. I had my dog with untreatable seizures euthanized. This bear was KILLED,” commented user Ann Sullivan.
“I’m disappointed with the decision. I understand that Yellowstone is trying to balance tourist safety with animal habitation, but I personally feel this bear should not have been euthanized,” Donna Lee Hoff wrote.
Others suggested that this was yet another event where a human was interfering in an animal’s domain and suffered the consequences.
Yellowstone responded by stating that despite the “off trail” direction the hiker was travelling, the entire park is considered bear country “from the deepest backcountry to the boardwalks around Old Faithful. Where you hike (on or off-trail) should not affect your approach to bear safety.”
Arrangements have been made for the bear’s cubs to be transferred to another facility.
What do you think of the decision to euthanise the creature? Do you think humans have the right to interfere