The harrowing final moments of a hiker killed by a grizzly bear at Yellowstone have been discussed by an animal expert, who says the species likely attacked her head or neck.
Amie Adamson, 47, was killed on Saturday on the scenic Buttermilk Trail near West Yellowstone, Montana.
Tom Smith, a professor of plant and wildlife sciences at Brigham Young University in Utah, believes her tragic end was over in three minutes.
Smith has studied bear-human conflicts for over three decades, and he has examined over 2,200 encounters of bear behavior.
He told The Mirror the grizzly bear that attacked Ms Adamson likely went for her head and neck with its large, sharp and powerful teeth. This is the most common method used to disable opponents.
“They don’t use their claws very much. They’ll use them, but their main weapon threat is their teeth,” he said.
“When you look at a grizzly bear in an ecosystem, the only real threat to it is another grizzly bear. They treat us just like we’re another potential attacking animal.”
Their violent behavior presents many problems for humans because the bears often grow to be nearly 10 feet tall and can weigh over 700 pounds, according to the National Wildlife Federation.
They also have thick fur, thick bones and lots of muscle.
Smith said: “They can take a few whacks to the head and the neck. Humans? It’s severe. Its tender skin, very thin skin, lots of bloods, vascularized, a lot of vessels, a lot of nerves. When they take a swat or a bite, it’s devastating.”
He also said in Adamson’s case, the bear may have targeted her head or neck.
Smith said: “It’s pretty grizzly stuff. The bottom line is, you don’t ever want to get any body part in the mouth of a bear.
“They’re way too powerful.”
In Ms Adamson’s case, it is believed – based on paw prints – a mother bear was out with her cub when she likely startled them as she ran along the trail. The mother bear may have attacked out of fear.
He said: “Anything that startles them, comes at them quickly, is perceived as a predation threat. It’s going to unleash the fury it has.
“Predation’s not the motivation. It’s all about you setting off an innate response, and this is the result. Surprising bears is a bad idea because you trigger that.”
If someone ever runs into a bear, Smith said it’s important to make noise and give the bears enough time to move away.
He also said it’s best to travel in groups, carry bear spray, then leave the bear alone.
This article by Isabelle Durso was first published by The Express on 27 July 2023. Lead Image: A grizzly bear attacked Adamson (Image: Getty).
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