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News

Torrance Man Killed in Grizzly Bear Attack at Yellowstone

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A 57-year-old Torrance man was killed by a grizzly bear while hiking with his wife on a trail at Yellowstone National Park Wednesday morning.

Brian Matayoshi and his wife Marylyn were hiking on the Wapiti Lake Trail when they encountered a female grizzly bear with cubs, according to NBC LA. The couple saw the bear twice but continued hiking. Upon the third encounter, the bear charged the man. The couple turned and ran but the bear chased them and overtook Brian. Marylyn Matayoshi went to side of trail near a fallen log or tree, according to KBZK.

It was the first fatal grizzly mauling at Yellowstone since 1986 but the third in the region in just over a year. It was the first reported encounter with a grizzly bear of the season, said park spokesman Al Nash in a statement:

The husband and wife couple had traveled about a mile and a half in on the trail Wednesday morning when they surprised a grizzly sow with cubs. In an apparent attempt to defend a perceived threat to her cubs, the bear attacked and fatally wounded the man. Another group of hikers nearby heard the victim's wife crying out for help, and used a cell phone to call 911. Park rangers were summoned and quickly responded to the scene.
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The bear "acted in a purely defensive nature to protect her cubs," according to park officials on Thursday, and will be allowed to continue roaming the park free and untagged, according to Reuters.There is a 1 in 3 million chance that an attack like this could happen, officials said.

Before Wednesday the last fatal grizzly bear attack in Yellowstone was in October 1986, when the mauled body of a man was found by the road near Otter Creek. It appeared that the man was photographing a grizzly when he was attacked, according to Greenspace.