Two Killed by Bear in Banff National Park

( – A couple of experienced nature lovers were killed by a grizzly bear in Banff National Park in Alberta on Friday evening, September 29th, according to Parks Canada. The common-law couple has not yet been identified until their family members can be properly informed. Their dog was also killed in the attack.

A family member said they were long-term common-law partners who had spent a lot of time in the outdoors. They were described as “inseparable.” The individual further said they knew how to deal with bears and were very cautious while enjoying nature.

Parks Canada received notification from a GPS in the Red Deer River Valley that there had been a bear attack around 8 p.m., according to Natalie Fay with public relations for Parks Canada.

Fay said that a special unit trained to respond in the event of wildlife attacks was able to mobilize but their response time was slowed by poor weather. They were unable to use a helicopter, so they had to get to the location on foot as night fell. They got there 5 hours later around 1 a.m. and found the bodies.

They also encountered an aggressive grizzly in the area and destroyed it to prevent future attacks. Around 5 a.m. the RCMP arrived to recover and transport the remains. Parks Canada called it a tragedy and expressed condolences to the friends and family of the victims.

A local specialist in wildlife attacks, Kim Titchener said such assaults are rare, and that only 14% of grizzly attacks around the world are deadly. Typically grizzlies avoid humans, she said, but she also indicated that they tend to be most active around dusk and that surprise encounters can trigger an attack. She said that the most likely event was that they shocked the animal at close range, triggering the attack, they don’t typically prey upon people though it has happened.

A family member indicated that they received a notification around 5 p.m. that the couple had set up camp for the night, so they wouldn’t have been moving about at the time of the attack. Titchener said that bears are prepping for hibernation at this time of year, meaning they’re extra hungry. Bears typically enter hibernation in the October to December period depending on their size, the larger animals waiting until later in the season.

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