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Hiker found dead in Montana likely killed by grizzly bear, sheriff says

A hiker in Montana has been killed in a suspected encounter with a grizzly bear north of Yellowstone National Park.

Authorities were working Friday to return the hiker's body to his family, Park County Sheriff Brad Bichler said in a social media post.

The victim's full name was not immediately released and no details were provided on where he was found or when.

Search teams on the ground and in helicopters had been looking for the hiker since Thursday after he had been reported overdue, according to the sheriff's office. The search concentrated on the Six Mile Creek area of the Absaroka Mountains, located about 30 miles south of Livingston, Montana.

Since 2010, grizzlies in the Yellowstone region killed at least eight people. That included a backcountry guide killed by a bear last April along Yellowstone's western border.

Grizzlies are protected under federal law outside Alaska.

The Yellowstone region spanning portions of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming has more than 700 bears. Fatal attacks on humans are rare but have increased in recent decades as the grizzly population grew and more people moved into rural areas near bear habitat.

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