YNP Hikers Attacked by Bear "Did the Right Thing" - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

YNP Hikers Attacked by Bear "Did the Right Thing"

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MISSOULA -

Two hikers were treated for injuries in the first bear attack of the summer in Yellowstone National Park. Park Spokesman Al Nash said the hikers were in a thickly forested area when a sow attacked.

"This is our first bear encounter of the year," Nash said.

In a press release, Nash said four hikers were a few miles down the Cygnet Lakes Trail southwest of Canyon Village when they saw a young cub approaching them around 11:30 Thursday morning. An adult female grizzly then appeared at very close range and charged the group. Two hikers immediately discharged their canisters of bear spray and the sow and cub left the area after an encounter which lasted about a minute.

"This is a group of people that did the right thing and while they were injured they were able to walk themselves out to the trailhead," Nash said.

This is the first bear attack of the summer for the park and Nash said last year they had no bear attacks, though the year before a sow with cubs was responsible for two separate fatal attacks in the park. While this incident remains under investigation biologists said the sow's behavior is consistent with purely defensive actions taken after a surprise encounter with people.

"We have no history with this bear, but our focus first and foremost was on these individuals," Nash said.

One person was treated at the scene, while the second hiker was transported  to an area hospital with bite and claw wounds. As a precaution the Cygnet Lakes Trail and the surrounding area have been temporarily closed. 

In addition, the park has closed the nearby Mary Mountain area to any off trail travel. Nash reminds people to hike in groups of three or more, make noise on the trail and carry bear spray.

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