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The cubs of a grizzly bear that was trapped and killed this week after it was suspected in the death of a hiker in Yellowstone National Park will be sent to an Ohio zoo, officials said Friday.
The two female cubs, who are less than a year old, will be sent to Toledo Zoo later this fall, the zoo said in a statement. The cubs are only around 50 pounds each — adult grizzlies can weigh 500 pounds — and are too young to survive in the wild, the zoo said.
Yellowstone officials killed the bear Thursday after determining it was the animal that killed Lance Crosby, 63, of Billings, Montana, as he hiked in the park last week. His body was discovered Aug. 7.
The park said DNA from hair samples found near Crosby’s body matched the bear that was trapped, and the bears were found near the body. The park said key to its decision was that the body, which was partially consumed, was cached with the intent to save it for later.
"Normal defensive attacks by female bears defending their young do not involve consumption of the victim’s body," Yellowstone National Park said in a statement.
"As managers of Yellowstone National Park, we balance the preservation of park resources with public safety," Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk said.
"Our decision takes into account the facts of the case, the goals of the bear management program, and the long term viability of the grizzly bear population as a whole, rather than an individual bear," he said.