At 4 a.m. on Wednesday morning at least one bear ravaged a campsite near Yellowstone National Park, killing one man and leaving two others wounded. The other campers fled the site and hid in their cars to escape being attacked. Authorities have not yet released the names of the victims.
The attacks occurred at the Soda Butte campground in the Gallatin National Forest.The campground has been shutdown and wildlife officials are still scrambling to figure out exactly what happened.
"We don't know if it was one bear, two bears, a black bear or grizzly bear," Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim told the Associated Press. "Obviously, the bear's gone now. Will it come back tonight? That's the question."
In 2008 a grizzly bear bit a camper at the same campsite. The camper survived the attack and the bear was eventually trapped and transported to a research station. For the most part, fatal grizzly bear attacks are uncommon in Yellowstone. Only five people have ever been killed by grizzlies in the park, according to wildlife biologist Kerry Gunther.
However, Wednesday's attack comes just one month after 70-year-old botanist Erwin Evert was killed by a grizzly while hiking in Kitty Creek near Yellowstone. During the time of the attack, researchers were trapping bears in the area, and it was supposed to be closed to hikers, but Evert ignored the warning signs.
There is some speculation that drugging and trapping bears could cause them to be more aggressive to humans, but there is no solid research on the subject. Wildlife officials do not think that the bear attack on Wednesday had anything to do with trapping or drugging bears, and so far, it seems that the attack was totally unprovoked.