CANADA, Oct 2, (Agencies): Park officials in southwest Canada have reported a grizzly bear attack that resulted in the tragic deaths of two individuals within Banff National Park in Alberta. The incident came to light when an alert was received via a satellite device around 8 pm on Friday. The alert originated west of Ya Ha Tinda Ranch in the Red Deer River Valley, approximately 80 miles northwest of Calgary, Alberta, as indicated by GPS coordinates. Due to adverse weather conditions, a response team was unable to reach the site by helicopter and instead made their way there on the ground overnight.
Upon arrival at 1 am on Saturday, the specialized wildlife response team found the two deceased victims and encountered a grizzly bear displaying aggressive behavior. To ensure public safety, the bear was euthanized on the spot, and the police arrived at 5 am to assist in transporting the victims to Sundre, a town located about 40 miles east.
While the identities of the victims have not been disclosed, it has been reported that they were a married couple. Kim Titchener, a wildlife conflict specialist and a friend of a close relative of the couple, mentioned that their dog was also killed in the attack. The remote location of the incident added to the complexity of the situation.
Requests for additional information about the victims and the attack made to Parks Canada remain unanswered at this time.
Banff National Park, home to an estimated 65 of Alberta’s 691 grizzly bears, advises visitors to be prepared for wildlife encounters by traveling in groups, making noise, and carrying bear spray. The grizzly bear, a largely solitary omnivore with a potential lifespan of up to 30 years in the wild, is categorized as “threatened” in Alberta.
Although bear attacks on humans are infrequent, they can happen when bears are feeding, protecting their young, or taken by surprise. Fatal attacks involving more than one person are even rarer. For example, in January, a polar bear killed a 24-year-old mother and her 1-year-old son in Wales, Alaska, and in 2018, a starving grizzly bear killed a woman and her baby in Yukon, Canada.
Banff National Park has described Friday’s incident as a “tragic incident” and offered condolences to the victims’ families and friends. As a precautionary measure, park authorities have temporarily closed the Red Deer and Panther valleys until further notice.
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