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Victim of Fatal Bear Attack at Yellowstone Identified

July 8, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

Brian Matayoshi, a 57-year-old Gardena, Calif., pharmacist who lived in North Torrance, has been identified as the victim of the fatal bear attack that took place in the Yellowstone National Park on Wednesday morning (July 6), examiner.com reported.

Matayoshi, an RV owner, was camping in the park with his wife, Marylyn.

At approximately 11 a.m. Wednesday, Matayoski and his wife were hiking on the popular Wapiti Lake Trail (located off the South Rim Drive) at a point about a mile and a half from the trailhead when they spotted a bear approximately 100 yards away, prompting them to immediately turn and walk away.

However, the female grizzly ran down the trail and attacked Matayoshi who received multiple bite and clawing injuries. The bear then attacked Mrs. Matayoshi, who had fallen to the ground nearby. The bear bit her daypack, lifting her from the ground and then dropping her. The bear then left the area.

Matayoshi was pronounced dead at the scene when rangers arrived at approximately 11:30 a.m.

“It is extremely unfortunate that this couple’s trip into the Yellowstone backcountry has ended in tragedy,” said Dan Wenk, superintendent of Yellowstone National Park. “Our heart goes out to the family and friends of the victim as they work to cope with their loss.”

The initial National Park Service (NPS) investigation suggests that the sow grizzly acted in a purely defensive nature to protect her cubs.

“It was not predatory and so we see no reason to take action against the bear,” said Kerry Gunther, bear management biologist for Yellowstone National Park, in a statement to the Associated Press. This particular female bear is not tagged or collared, and does not apparently have a history of aggression or human interaction. Typically, the National Park Service does not trap, relocate or kill a bear under those circumstances. A Board of Review which will include interagency experts will be convened to review the incident.

This is the first time a human has been killed by a bear within park boundaries since 1986, though one camper was killed and two injured in a horrific bear attack at the Soda Butte Campground, Mont., at the northeastern corner of the park in July 2010.

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