Sundre, Canada – A tragic incident unfolded in Banff National Park on Friday night when a grizzly bear attacked and killed a couple and their dog, according to Parks Canada.
The victims, a husband and wife who were known to be avid outdoors enthusiasts, were in the park’s backcountry when the attack occurred. Their identities have not been released. The couple’s dog, who was with them at the time, also fell victim to the bear. The news of the incident was received with shock and sorrow by friends and family.
The alert about the bear attack was triggered by a GPS device in the Red Deer River Valley, west of Ya Ha Tinda Ranch, around 8 p.m. on Friday. A team trained in wildlife attacks was immediately dispatched, but their response was delayed due to adverse weather conditions that made helicopter travel impossible. The team reached the site by ground transport at 1 a.m., where they found the deceased individuals.
While on-site, the response team encountered a grizzly bear exhibiting aggressive behavior. For public safety reasons, Parks Canada staff made the decision to euthanize the animal. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrived at the scene at 5 a.m. to transport the victims.
Bear attacks, especially fatal ones, are relatively rare. Only 14% of grizzly bear attacks worldwide result in fatalities. Most bear attacks are believed to be caused by surprise encounters, often when people are hiking or setting up camp. Bears are more active at dusk and during the period of hyperphagia when they increase their food intake in preparation for hibernation.
The area where the attack occurred is remote and challenging to access, characterized by steep cliffs and only reachable by foot or horseback. The fact that the bear remained in the vicinity after the attack is considered unusual, especially if the attack was defensive in nature.
Bear safety remains crucial for those venturing into the wilderness. Experts advise traveling in groups, making noise to alert animals of human presence, and carrying bear spray. If signs of bears are spotted, it is recommended to leave the area immediately.
Parks Canada has issued a closure order for the area where the attack took place, including the Red Deer and Panther valleys, as a safety precaution. The closure will remain in effect until further notice.