Posted: Nov 5, 2012 2:10 PM by KBZK Media Center with Judy Slate reporting
Updated: Nov 6, 2012 9:26 AM
BOZEMAN - A man who was mauled and killed by a bear north of Bozeman on Sunday has been identified.
Benjamin Cloutier, 24, of Bozeman and formerly of Yorkhaven, Pennsylvania, was mauled and killed by the captive-bred brown bear at the Animals of Montana facility. Cloutier was reportedly cleaning the bear's enclosure when the attack occurred at around 10 a.m. Sunday.
A man in charge at the time the employee died at Animals of Montana said it was not an attack because there were no defensive wounds on the victim and no one heard any kind of noise that sounded like an attack or someone calling for help. The victim had bear spray and it was not engaged, the employee, named Dimitri, said.
Dimitri said he found the victim in the enclosure and the bear, "Grizz" and 8-year-old bear who was raised at Animals of Montana.
Dimitri believes the employee had some sort of accident, possibly slipped and fell and was knocked out and Grizz acted on his predatory instinct. Dimitri said he had to shoot Grizz twice after he could not get him to back off of the victim, killing the bear.
Gallatin County Coroner's / Sheriff's Office and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wardens responded to the mauling on Nixon Peak Road, northeast of Bridger Bowl. The sheriff's office conducted the initial investigation and is continuing to follow up on this case.
Sheriff's deputies arrived first, and then Warden Jen Williams responded to the incident at Animals of Montana followed by Warden Sergeant Joe Knarr.
"These animals are not grizzly bears taken from the wild in Montana. They are Syrian brown bears that were purchased from a vendor out of state," the sheriff's office said in a press release. "Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks licenses the facility. In order to be licensed to operate a facility of this type, owners must meet a number of regulations outlined by Montana statute. All the necessary paperwork related to this facility is current."