A woman was found dead in Montana over the weekend after encountering a grizzly bear near Yellowstone National Park.
The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks said the woman's body was recovered on the Buttermilk Trail, about eight miles west of West Yellowstone. While investigators did not confirm the woman's cause of death, they said grizzly bear tracks were found at the scene and an investigation into the apparent attack was ongoing.
"The Custer Gallatin National Forest has issued an emergency closure of the Buttermilk area for human safety. Please avoid the area," officials said in a statement. "More information will be provided as it becomes available."
Montana, which has been dubbed "bear country," has encountered a rise in its grizzly population in recent years with the animals increasingly roaming areas they have not occupied for decades, officials said.
Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks has urged those camping and visiting parks to carry and know how to use bear spray, always secure food, tend to garbage, and travel in groups whenever possible. According to a 2020 survey, almost all Montanans (92%) agree or strongly agree that grizzly bears have a right to exist in the state.
Officials said if you encounter a bear, make loud noises and never approach it.
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