Posted: Sep 2, 2011 5:08 PM by Jay Kohn - Q2 News
MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, WY. - A grizzly bear was captured Friday morning in the backcountry of Yellowstone National Park, but it is too early to tell if the bear could be the one involved in the fatal mauling of a hiker last week.
Yellowstone Park spokesman Al Nash says park offiicals now plan to do DNA testing on hair samples from the captured bear, to see if it matches samples taken from the scene of the fatal attack.
"We have a bear, but we're a long way from knowing whether it's the one involved in last week's mauling," said Nash.
Last Friday, the body of 59-year old John Wallace of Chassell, Michigan was discovered along Yellowstone's Mary Mountain Trail. The investigation and autopsy results confirm that Wallace died Thursday, August 25, of traumatic injuries from a grizzly bear attack.
Since the attack, eight bear traps have been set in the area of last week's attack, but until Friday morning there had been very few bear sightings.
"We could capture several bears, and it is certainly very likely that we might not ever be able to link any of those animals positively to the attack site," explained Nash.
Nash cautioned visitors to Yellowstone this Labor Day Holiday to be prepared, not only for possible wildlife encounters, but also for cold temperatures.
The bison rut is just ending, the elk mating season is just beginin, and bears are packing on the pounds as they prepare for the onslaught of winter.
"Nighttime temperatures in the park this weekend will likely be below freezing," Nash said. "There is definitely a feel of fall in the air."