A man mauled by a grizzly bear Thursday morning
20 miles outside of Cody is in the hospital and in stable condition, said Alan Osterland, regional wildlife supervisor for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
The man was attacked early in the morning in the South Fork area while irrigating on private land. His dog reportedly stumbled on the bear, which may have triggered the attack. The man appeared to have used a shovel to defend himself, Osterland said.
The sow had two cubs, according to information gathered by Game and Fish, Osterland said. She was likely defending them when she attacked.
Wildlife officials set traps and were looking for the bear later Thursday. Osterland didn’t know the likelihood of catching the sow.
“A lot of times for the protection of the cubs, she’ll pull them out of the area,” he said. “We’ve saturated the area with traps.”
If and when they catch the bear, they will take a genetic sample to be sure it is the offending bear, and then determine if it has a history of encounters with humans. Officials will also note if it is injured or old, said Dan Thompson, large carnivore section supervisor for Game and Fish.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will then ultimately decide if the bear should be released, relocated or killed.
This wasn’t the closest bear mauling to the city of Cody on record. It was in occupied grizzly bear country, Osterland said.
Grizzly bears are listed as an endangered species.
Fourteen people were reported injured in grizzly bear conflicts in 2011 in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, according to the most recent data reported by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team.
The number of conflicts has risen as grizzly bear numbers have increased, Thompson said. Officials estimate more than
600 grizzly bears now live in the ecosystem.