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Fourth bear caught after deadly campground attack

COOKE CITY, Mont. (AP) - The fourth grizzly bear believed
involved in a triple mauling at a Montana campground has been
captured, with DNA tests due Friday that could confirm the family
of grizzlies killed a Michigan man and injured two other people.
A sow and two of her three cubs had been trapped by Thursday,
with a year-old cub found in a trap early Friday. The bears -
crying and scratching at the steel sides of traps - were taken from
the Soda Butte campground in a three-truck convoy.
Their departure brought relief among residents and visitors in
Cooke City, an old mining town just outside Yellowstone National
Park that was jolted by the Wednesday attacks on three people as
they slept in separate tents.
"They captured them? All of them?" asked Linda Olson. The
60-year-old nurse from Minnesota let out a sigh when she learned
the answer was yes.
The cubs will likely go to a zoo, said Chris Servheen, a U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service grizzly bear recovery coordinator. The
sow will have to be killed so officials can conduct an autopsy to
determine if any physical ailments or conditions caused her to
attack the campers.
Officials said they won't decide the fate of the bears until
they see the results of DNA tests.
Authorities said the bear family, under the tutelage of the
mother, specifically targeted campers - a sharp departure from the
usual behavior of grizzlies attacking only when threatened or
surprised.
Evidence indicated all three cubs likely participated in what
Warden Capt. Sam Sheppard called a sustained attack on Kevin Kammer
of Grand Rapids, Mich. He was pulled from his tent and dragged 25
feet. At least one of the bears fed on his body.
Despite the unusual nature of the attacks, there also was a
realization in Cooke City that bear run-ins would continue. Three
million tourists a year visit the remote and wild Yellowstone
region of Montana and Wyoming, which has an estimated 600
grizzlies.
"It's a great spot, but you have to realize we're in their
home. We're part of the food chain," Pat Froelich, 75, said as she
watched the trucks haul the grizzlies from town as she ate
breakfast at the Bear Claw Bakery.
Fibers from a tent or sleeping bag were in the droppings of the
captured bears, and a tooth fragment found in a tent appears to
match a chipped tooth on the sow that weighs more than 300 pounds.
"Everything points to it being the offending bear," said Ron
Aasheim, a spokesman for Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
The two other victims, Deb Freele of London, Ontario, and Ronald
Singer of Alamosa, Colo., were initially hospitalized in Cody, Wyo.
Singer, 21, was treated and released. Freele was scheduled to have
surgery Friday for bite wounds and a broken bone in her arm, her
husband Bill Freele said.
He expected her to be released from the hospital sometime this
weekend.
Freele said his wife had wanted to carry on with their trip but
reconsidered after having nightmares about the attack.
"Right now, she just wants to see the kids," he said.
Deb Freele is a native of Michigan and knew Kammer but did not
realize he was in the same campground or that he was the victim
until she saw his picture with a story about the maulings, her
husband said.
Bill Freele was in Cooke City on Friday retrieving the couple's
camping equipment. He believes the mother bear should be killed
"because it tasted humans."
He was fine with placing the cubs in a zoo. "Just don't tell me
where it is," he added.
Messages left Thursday for Kammer's mother-in-law and
brother-in-law in Michigan were not returned.
Singer and his mother Luron Singer did not immediately return
e-mail messages from The Associated Press seeking comment. Luron
Singer told The Denver Post that her son, a former high school
wrestler, had been camping with his girlfriend.
He started punching the bear when he felt it biting his leg, she
said. His girlfriend screamed, and the bear ran away.
"He is doing fine," Luron Singer told the newspaper. "He went
fishing today."
Freele said she couldn't understand why the bear attacked her,
because she posed no threat.
"If it was something that I had done - if I had walked into a
female with cubs, and startled her, and she attacked me - I can
understand that," she said. "She was hunting us, with the
intention of killing us and eating us."
All the victims did the right thing, and there was no telling
why the bear picked out those three tents, Sheppard said.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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