A woman has been found dead after a suspected grizzly bear attack in the US.
She was found on Saturday in Montana on a trail west of Yellowstone National Park “following an apparent bear encounter”, officials from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks said.
Investigators found grizzly bear tracks at the scene but did not confirm the cause of death in a statement on Sunday.
The investigation is continuing.
Rangers issued an emergency closure of the area where the woman was found, which is popular with hikers.
The department warned visitors last week that staff had confirmed grizzly bear sightings throughout Montana, “particularly in areas between the Northern Continental Divide and the Great Yellowstone ecosystems”.
They urged those camping and visiting parks to carry bear spray, store their food properly and deal with rubbish efficiently.
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Deaths caused by grizzly bears are exceptionally rare.
But the most recent attack comes amid a rise in Montana’s grizzly bear population and several deaths associated with the animals in recent years.
In March 2022, a 40-year-old man was killed after an attack also in Yellowstone National Park, while a 51-year-old man survived a separate attack in October 2022 in Montana’s Glacier National Park.
In July 2021, a 65-year-old woman was killed by a bear authorities said had been “food-conditioned“.
In April of the same year, an area guide was killed by a grizzly bear while fishing along the Yellowstone National Park border.