Bear kills runner near Yellowstone National Park

Amie Adamson -- bear attack victim

A 47-year-old woman was killed in a vicious attack by a grizzly bear near Yellowstone National Park in southern Montana on the weekend, sparking an urgent and continuing search for the animal and the emergency closure of the area for the next several weeks.

The body of friend adamson of Derby, Kan., was discovered Saturday morning on the Buttermilk Trail, about 13 kilometers west of the town of West Yellowstone, with wounds consistent with a bear attack, according to a statement released Monday by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Upon investigation of the site, department officials, accompanied by bear specialists and staff from other agencies, found tracks from one adult grizzly and spotted at least one grizzly cub nearby.

brown bear
Photo: Zdeněk Macháček/Unsplash

Adamson is believed to have been alone during the encounter, and officials did not find any firearms or bear spray at the scene. According to the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, Adamson was running on the trail, as she often did in the early morning. The death has been ruled accidental.

Although officials say the grizzly’s attack likely wasn’t the result of predatory behavior, traps had been set to capture the bear. Montana’s wildlife department and the US Fish and Wildlife Service are continuing their investigation, which has included the emergency closure of nearby trails until Aug. 25 and aerial surveillance. As of Tuesday, no sightings of the grizzly had been reported. It isn’t clear if officials have decided to kill or relocate the adult bear if it is captured.

The victim of the attack, meanwhile, is being remembered as a woman with a passion for running and the outdoors. In a since-deleted post, Adamson’s mother, Janet Adamson, wrote on Facebook on Sunday: “This is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to put on here. Yesterday morning we lost our beautiful, smart, talented daughter, Amie. Our first born. … She was a free spirit adventurer who loved the outdoors, hiked, ran and explored. She died doing something she loved in a place she loved.”

Meanwhile, near Canmore, Alta., a runner is recovering from minor injuries following a run-in with a black bear on the Lady Macdonald Trail on Saturday. The encounter happened as the male runner inadvertently surprised the bear at close range, conservation officer Duncan Baker told the Rocky Mountain Outlook.

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“This resulted in this individual receiving a bite on the forearm from the bear, which resulted in two puncture wounds and some bruising,” said Baker. “Based on the investigation thus far, we believe this was a defensive encounter as a result of surprising the bear at very close range.”

He said the man was carrying bear spray during his run, but the attack ended before he could use it. The runner went home to treat his injuries and report the attack. “Our officers suggested it might be worthwhile to visit the hospital just to get a proper cleaning, but it’s unknown if he actually followed up and did attend any hospital,” Baker told the Outlook.

map of closed trail
Photo: Alberta Parks

Baker said there were no plans to try to capture or relocate the bear, saying officials’ continuing investigation so far suggests this was an isolated incident.

The Lady Macdonald Trail was shut down immediately and remains closed. Nearby trails under a bear warning include the Horseshoe Loop and Montane Trail, Cougar Creek Trail, Grotto Mountain Trail, G8 trail, Meander trail and Johnny’s Trail.

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