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Grizzly bear attacks, wounds two Yellowstone hikers

Source: Reuters - Fri, 16 Aug 2013 01:39 GMT
Author: Reuters
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By Laura Zuckerman

SALMON, Idaho, Aug 15 (Reuters) - A grizzly bear attacked and wounded two hikers in Yellowstone National Park on Thursday after they unexpectedly encountered the bear's new cub on a back country trail in the northwest corner of the park, Yellowstone officials said.

One hiker was taken to an area hospital for treatment of claw and bite wounds and the other was treated near the scene for minor injuries in the first such incident this year, park spokesman Al Nash said.

The hikers were part of a group of four who came upon the cub north of Yellowstone Lake and were charged by the mother bear, Nash said.

The hikers warded off the grizzlies by deploying two canisters of bear spray during an encounter that lasted about a minute.

No action was planned against the mother bear since her actions were linked to the defense of her cub after a surprise encounter with people, according to Yellowstone bear biologists.

Nash said the encounter could serve as a model for others visiting the nation's oldest and best-known park.

"Here is a group of people who took our advice: they hiked in a group and carried bear spray," he said. "While it didn't eliminate a chance of a bear encounter, everybody walked away alive."

Also on Thursday, Idaho wildlife officials reported that two biologists collecting grizzly habitat data in the eastern part of the state were knocked down by a charging grizzly after they startled it. Spray was used to scare off the bear, which bit one man on the backside and the other on the hands.

Roughly 600 federally protected grizzly bears roam the park and the Yellowstone border states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. (Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Bill Trott)

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