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Man Killed By Grizzly In Yellowstone National Park Identified, Board of Review To Be Convened


Yellowstone National Park officials on Thursday identified the victim of a grizzly bear attack as a 57-year-old Torrence, California, man, and adjusted some of the details of the attack.

Brian Matayoshi was killed in Wednesday morning's attack, while his wife, Marylyn, was briefly picked up by the bear but did not require medical attention, park officials said. The attack occurred about 11 a.m. as the couple was hiking along the Wapiti Lake Trail, which is located off the South Rim Drive south of Canyon Village and east of the park’s Grand Loop Road.

The couple was returning to the trailhead toward their vehicle when, about a mile-and-a-half from the trailhead, came out of the lodgepole pine forest and into a meadow, a park briefing of the incident said.

"It appears that the couple spotted a bear approximately 100 yards away and then began walking away from the bear.  When they turned around to look, they reportedly saw the female grizzly running down the trail at them," the release said. "The couple began running, but the bear caught up with them, attacking Mr. Matayoshi. The bear then went over to Mrs. Matayoshi, who had fallen to the ground nearby. The bear bit her daypack, lifting her from the ground and then dropping her. She remained still and the bear left the area.

"Mrs. Matayoshi then walked back toward the meadow and attempted, without success, to call 911 on her cell phone. She began to shout for help and was heard by a distant group of hikers who were able to contact 911 by cell phone. Two rangers already in the area on backcountry patrol were contacted by the park Communications Center by radio and responded to the scene of the incident."

Mr. Matayoshi had died from "multiple bite and clawing injuries" by the time rangers arrived at the scene at approximately 11:30 a.m., the park statement said. The couple was not carrying any pepper spray, according to park officials.

Rangers immediately closed hiking trails in the area, and a helicopter patrol was used to determine whether there were any other hikers already in the backcountry in that area. None were spotted, and park officials closed the area for the coming days.

"The initial investigation suggests the sow grizzly acted in a purely defensive nature to protect her cubs," the statement said. "This female bear is not tagged or collared, and does not apparently have a history of aggression or human interaction.  Typically, the National Park Service does not trap, relocate, or kill a bear under those circumstances.  A Board of Review, which will include interagency experts, will be convened to review the incident."

The last fatal bear attack in Yellowstone occurred in October 1986 when a 38-year-old photographer, William Tesinsky, was attacked while "stalking" a grizzly in the Otter Creek area of the Hayden Valley, according to park officials who investigated the incident. The Montana man got too close to his subject, former Yellowstone Chief Ranger Dan Sholly wrote in his memoirs from the park, recounting that "before he could even press the shutter release" to snap a shot the bear charged him, mauled him, and partially consumed him.

Previous to that incident, a Swedish woman, Brigitta Fredenhagen, was killed in July 1984 by a grizzly that pulled her out of her tent at a backcountry campsite in the middle of the night. Rangers had warned her about hiking alone in the backcountry, according to Mr. Sholly's account in Guardians of Yellowstone, An Intimate Look at the Challenges of Protecting America's Foremost Wilderness Park.

Despite the large number of visitors who travel to Yellowstone each year, and the hundreds of bears in the region, there are relatively few bear-human incidents, said Mr. Nash. During the past 30 years there has been less than one injury per 1 million visitors to Yellowstone, while back in the 1930s there were roughly 175 injuries per 1 million visitors, he said.


Wow, I hate hearing about anyone losing their life in one of our Parks. I think about all the excitement and anticiaption that goes into OUR own trips and I'm sure that they never expected for this to have the outcome it did. My sympathies to the family...

My husband and I have planned an impromtu trip to Yellowstone July 29th through Aug-6th and we were contemplating a couople of hikes in this very system, Ribbon Lake and Clear Lake. We decided last week to do "7 Mile Hole" instead. As we do on all of our hikes we will be Bear Aware and take the necessary precautions (packing Bear Spray).

Bears and wolves are the star attractions at Yellowstone, everyone hopes to see one. I am glad to hear that the Park has no intention of removing this bear who after all, was only being a bear.

I think we need to shoot that bear since it's aggressive and will only cause further harm to people. I do recall someone once saying that bears have no good in our wilderness other than attacking humans, and this truly has been the case here. Trap the bear and kill it.

Of course the bear should live. I hate the tragic incident. I am betting that a person that was willing to hike in Yellowstone would also have wanted the bear to live. This earth has need for all species. The narrow view expressed in the earlier comment shows a need for a wider understanding of the entire world environment. We have left too little space to the wild animals. If we choose to invade that last small space of wilderness we take the risk that these people took. Tragic, but true.

My wife and I will be traveling to Yellowstonw in Aug--- I just ordered our bear spray from Cabela's!!  This grizzly should be left alone of course--- hopfully we'll have the fortune to see a grizz on our trip.It's what Yellowstone is all about. If you are worried about being killed in a national Park then go to Disney World

The bear should live. Unfortunate out come for this couple. They turned and ran away from a charging bear.

This was a terrible tragedy. That said, I thoroughly disagree with Asus' comments, above.

This is a great tragedy!  I am torn…I really don’t know what the fate of the bear should be.  I am not pro killing wildlife but on the other hand this bear did take the life of a human being and from the details in this article it appears that the couple did not do anything to provoke the bear other than stumble upon it.  Some of the comments I have read on this story are so disrespectful to the family.  I am not calling for the park service to go out and string the bear up but after all it did kill a human with what appears to be little reason other than she had cubs and was surprised.  Let me ask you this…would you be happy if this bear killed one of your loved ones…would you call it the cycle of life!?

As an avid lover of the national parks and hiking I am touched by this story.  My family and I are planning a trip to Yellowstone in two weeks and with both a 1 year old and 3 year old it concerns me that we could stumble upon such a fate by no fault of our own.   This just confirms to me that we all need to keep in mind that we are indeed in wild places and this wilderness is cruel and survival of the fittest is the law that governs the wild.  My prayers go out to his family and my family and I will definitely carry bear spray after reading this incident.

you choose to go into the Yellowstone backcountry, anything, not near a
lodge please purchase and learn how to use bear spray. It is cheap,
about 40.00, and available at many of the stores in the park and
effective. It is not harmful either.
Within 30 minutes the bear is back to normal. It just gives you time to
defuse the situation and get back to Roosevelt bar with a great story
and a beating heart.

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