Last updated: 02:55 PM ET, Tue August 11 2015

Hiker Killed by Grizzly Bear at Yellowstone National Park

Impacting Travel | Patrick Clarke | August 11, 2015

Hiker Killed by Grizzly Bear at Yellowstone National Park

A hiker found dead in Yellowstone National Park last week is believed to have been attacked by a grizzly bear, the National Park Service said in a press release Saturday.

The victim, identified as 63-year-old Lance Crosby, per NPR, was discovered Friday roughly one-half mile from the Elephant Back Loop Trail near Lake Village.

"While the exact cause of death has not been determined, investigators have identified what appear to be defensive wounds on the victim's forearms. The victim's body was found partially consumed and cached, or covered..." the NPS said. "Based on partial tracks found at the scene, it appears that an adult female grizzly and at least one cub-of-the-year were present and likely involved in the incident."

Park rangers and wildlife biologists collected evidence at the scene last week before setting up several bear traps. The investigation into Crosby's death is ongoing and the NPS said that a forensic autopsy was scheduled for Monday. 

Any successfully trapped bears linked to the attack will be euthanized, per the NPS.

Crosby was an experienced hiker who had worked and lived in the park for five seasons. The Montana native was working as a long-term seasonal employee of Medcor, which operates a trio of urgent care clinics at Yellowstone. 

In response to the potential threat, Yellowstone officials have closed the Elephant Back Loop Trail and immediate surrounding area for the time being. 

"We may not be able to conclusively determine the circumstances of this bear attack, but we will not risk public safety," said Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk in a statement. "We are deeply saddened by this tragedy and our hearts go out to the family and friends of the victim as they work to cope with the loss of someone who loved Yellowstone so very much."

The park service urges Yellowstone visitors to travel in groups and remain on the designated trails at all times. Visitors should also be alert for bears and carry bear spray in case of an encounter. 

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