Shot grizzly tied to hiker death near Yellowstone

CODY, Wyoming Sun Jun 20, 2010 4:59pm EDT

A grizzly bear walks on snow near Obsidian Creek in the Yellowstone National Park in this photo taken in April 2003. REUTERS/Jim Peaco/National Park Service

A grizzly bear walks on snow near Obsidian Creek in the Yellowstone National Park in this photo taken in April 2003.

Credit: Reuters/Jim Peaco/National Park Service

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CODY, Wyoming (Reuters) - Authorities in northwest Wyoming have shot and killed a grizzly bear they say mauled an elderly hiker to death near Yellowstone National Park.

Erwin Frank Evert, 70, was found dead on Thursday in the Kitty Creek area, about 7 miles east of Yellowstone, a popular U.S. tourist spot, famous for its Old Faithful Geyser.

Tests of genetic material found on Evert matched blood taken from the bear, said Chris Servheen, grizzly bear coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Officials used a helicopter and radio tracking gear to locate and shoot the bear on Saturday morning, after making several unsuccessful attempts to catch it.

The incident is the first fatal mauling by a grizzly bear in the area in some 25 years.

"We try to do everything we can to minimize the risks. But we can't protect ourselves against people that ignore every warning we give, and we can't protect people against themselves," said Servheen.

"The whole thing is regrettable; just one tragedy followed by another," he added.

Evert, a botanist from Park Ridge, Illinois, had spent summers with his wife at their Kitty Creek cabin for the past 30 years. He was hiking alone at the time of the attack.

(Reporting by Ruffin Prevost; Writing by Dana Ford, Editing by Sandra Maler)

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