Woman dead after suspected grizzly bear attack on trail near Yellowstone

WEST YELLOWSTONE, Mont. — A woman was found dead on Saturday after an apparent attack by a grizzly bear on a trail west of Yellowstone National Park, wildlife officials said.

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According to a news release, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks said the woman’s body was found early Saturday on the Buttermilk Trail near West Yellowstone, Montana.

Officials closed the trail after grizzly bear tracks were reported at the scene and confirmed by investigators, KTVM reported.

The Custer Gallatin National Forest issued an emergency closure of the Buttermilk area for human safety, wildlife officials said, adding that people should avoid the area.

The order prohibits all humans from entering the area, rangers said.

“Bears can be found throughout Montana,” wildlife officials wrote in the news release. “In recent years, grizzly bear populations have expanded.”

Officials did not release any information about the victim, including her age and where she lived. The circumstances surrounding her death remain under investigation.

According to the National Park Service, bear attacks in the U.S. are rare. In many instances, attacks occur when bears are attempting to defend their cubs, food or territory.

“Each bear and each experience is unique; there is no single strategy that will work in all situations and that guarantees safety,” the agency wrote on its website. “Most bear encounters end without injury.”