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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Grizzly bear kills backcountry guide in Wyoming

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A grizzly bear mauled a backcountry guide Monday in Wyoming, leaving him and his guide with injuries.

Wyoming Department of Game and Fish spokeswoman Alison Ritter confirmed the news in an email statement.

The victim, Rick Zachary, 40, of Yellowstone, Wyoming, was airlifted to a local hospital. He was in serious condition, according to an email from the office of the Wyoming governor, Matt Mead.

Ms. Ritter said the fatality is the first this year in Wyoming in an attack by a grizzly bear.

The mauling took place in Norris Geyser Basin, about 65 miles southwest of Yellowstone National Park.

Mr. Zachary and his guide, Mike Harrison, had been mountain biking down a trail when the pair were approached by the bruin.

“After one couple of rides, the bear came at him and pounced,” Mr. Harrison said in a phone interview Monday night. “It swiped him in the neck, it tore up his shirt, and it dragged him down the hill.”

Mr. Harrison said his guide was not familiar with the terrain, and didn’t realize that the bear was charging.

“It was just like a very casual bear,” he said. “He was at a low ankle level.”

Mr. Harrison said it appeared that the grizzly hit Mr. Zachary with its beak but later fled. The bear was a 350-pound female and may have been about 15 years old, he said.

The biologists and police involved in the effort to capture the bear were still searching on Monday night, Mr. Harrison said.

“I’m just really glad that he’s alive,” Mr. Harrison said. “He’s probably a better survivor because of that.”

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