Investigation over grizzly bear found dead near Yellowstone national park

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

An investigation was launched after a slain grizzly bear was found near Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

Officials from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Wyoming Game and Fish Department say that a probe is underway after the killing of the male bear, according to The Cowboy State Daily.

Wildlife photographer Amy Gerber that the 500-pound bear’s carcass was by a roadside between Cody, Wyoming and the world-famous park’s East Gate.

“That bear can’t die in vain. The very few people who are so vehemently hateful toward grizzlies, that doesn’t represent us. That’s not Cody, Wyoming,” she said.

“It seems like there’s this perception that people here hate wildlife, and particularly predators, and that’s not true. The outcry over this bear being killed is strong.”

And she rejected suggestions that the bears may have been fatally struck by a vehicle rather than deliberately shot and killed.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that the bear was shot,” she said. “And there’s zero evidence of a roadkill in the area. There’s no skid marks or shrapnel from a car.”

And she added: “This was a big bear. I’m guessing at least 500 pounds. If it had been struck by a car, especially the way cars are built these days, there would have been car parts all over the highway.”

Grizzlies are under federal jurisdiction in Wyoming and the USFWS says it cannot comment on the state of the investigation.

USFWS Special Agent Richard Gamba confirmed that the investigation was underway but could not provide any further details, reported the newspaper.

Anyone suspected of killing a grizzly bear is prosecuted through the US Attorney’s office with the maximum penalty being a $50,000 fine and up to one year in prison.

People can kill a grizzly bear in obvious cases of self-defence but must report it immediately and prove their case to investigators.

“It’s usually pretty easy to determine when a case was self-defence,” the agent added.

The Yellowstone area has seen its population of grizzly bears grow from 136 in 1975 to around 1,063 in 2021.