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Officials trap, kill grizzly that mauled man

BOISE – A grizzly bear that mauled an eastern Idaho man last week has been killed, authorities said.

The 15-year-old male grizzly that weighed 350 to 400 pounds was caught in a snare – a cable loop trap that holds the bear’s leg – and then shot by officials on Saturday.

Game wardens and Teton County sheriff’s deputies had been trying to capture the bear since the Tuesday attack on 33-year-old Timothy Henderson, who spent three days in a hospital before being released Friday with multiple claw and bite wounds.

“I think this whole situation was unfortunate for Mr. Henderson and the bear,” Doug Petersen, a conservation officer with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, told the Idaho Statesman.

Henderson was attacked at dusk when he went out to look for his dog, Ladybug, who came running back with the bear in pursuit. Ladybug got away but Henderson didn’t.

Officials and Henderson said the bear was likely guarding a winter-killed moose carcass – normal grizzly bear behavior – about 50 yards from Henderson’s cabin.

The cabin is in grizzly bear habitat near the Wyoming border northeast of Tetonia.

Officials said the bear had an ear tag indicating it had been caught before in Grand Teton National Park.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had given the state permission to remove the bear from the wild to protect public safety.

Since 1975, bears in and around Yellowstone National Park have been listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

An estimated 600 grizzlies live in and around the park, which includes portions of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Last month, the U.S. fish and Wildlife Service said it intended to remove grizzly bears from the endangered species list.

But some groups have said they will fight that decision.

“In denying the truth about shrinking habitat and mounting development threats, the government is risking the future of the grizzly bear, an icon of American wilderness,” said Louisa Willcox, director of the Wild Bears Project with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Teton County, where Henderson was attacked, is one of the fastest-growing counties in Idaho, and county commissioners recently placed a moratorium on new developments.

Henderson said he’s concerned about the increasing number of homes being built around his cabin, which was constructed a decade ago.

“You like to see a place stay beautiful, but I can’t knock development because that’s what I do,” said Henderson, a carpenter who lives in the cabin with his wife and 1-year-old son.

The attack on Henderson was the first reported in Idaho since a female grizzly attacked a hiker on the western border of the park on July 3, 2006.


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