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Widow Sues Feds After Husband Killed by Grizzly Bear

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An Illinois widow of a man mauled and killed by a grizzly bear is suing the federal government, alleging that researchers failed to adequately warn hikers of trapping activities in the area. Frank Evert, a botanist, was killed in June 2010 at Yellowstone National Park by a bear that had been snared, tranquilized, collared, and released hours earlier by federal researchers.

Yolanda’s lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court of Wyoming, alleges that researchers did not warn cabin owners at the park of bear-trapping activities or follow the established protocols of posting warning signs. She is seeking $5 million in damages. Wildlife officials tried without success to capture the bear last year, but failed and ultimately shot the animal from a helicopter.

The lawsuit specifically alleges that members of the federal Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team spoke with residents at only 14 of the cabins at Yellowstone National Park during a three-week trapping period and that researchers prematurely removed signs warning hikers. An interagency investigation revealed that researchers had finished their work in the area and that they removed the warning signs because the weather was bad and they believed that no one would be hiking in the area. The investigative committee recommended that signs at remote trapping locations be left up for a day after the bear is known to have left the area. While grizzly attacks are rare, two hikers were also killed this summer at Yellowstone during separate incidents.