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Grizzly bear kills couple and their dog in Banff National Park in Canada

GRIZZLY BEAR (file photo)
Posted at 10:20 AM, Oct 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-02 12:43:54-04

Two people and their dog were killed by an "aggressive" grizzly bear in Canada's Banff National Park, park officials said Sunday, marking at least the second fatal grizzly attack in North America since July.

At about 8 p.m. on Friday, Parks Canada Dispatch in Banff National Park received an alert of a bear attack from a GPS device. The alert location originated from within Banff National Park, in the Red Deer River Valley, officials said in a news release.

A team specially trained in responding to wildlife attacks was mobilized. Unable to use a helicopter because of poor weather conditions, the team traveled through the night to reach the location by ground.

Officials arrived at the site at about 1 a.m. and discovered two people who were already dead. While in the area, the team encountered and euthanized a grizzly bear "that displayed aggressive behavior," officials said.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrived on the scene at 5 a.m. and helped take the victims to Sundre, Alberta.
Officials did not identify the victims but a family member told CBC News the people who died were a couple who were experienced backcountry hikers. The family member said the couple's dog was also killed in the attack.

"They lived for being in the backcountry and were two of the most cautious people I know. They knew bear protocol and followed it to a tee," the family member told CBC News in a statement.

Kim Titchener, a friend of the family and the founder of Bear Safety and More, told Reuters that only 14% of grizzly bear attacks are fatal, but that human-bear encounters are increasing as more people head outdoors.

"It's really just the reason why we're seeing more attacks, which is more people heading outdoors and unfortunately not being educated on this," she said.

Last month, a grizzly bear that had killed a woman on a forest trail west of Yellowstone National Park in July was killed after it broke into a house near West Yellowstone.

Also in July, a 21-year-old woman who was planting trees was seriously injured by a bear in British Columbia, Canada. Officials could not locate the animal but believe it was a grizzly bear that attacked the woman. Earlier this month, a hunter in Montana was severely injured by a grizzly.

Grizzly bear range continues expanding east

Following the weekend attack at Banff National Park, officials closed an area around Red Deer and Panther valleys, Parks Canada said.

"This is a tragic incident, and Parks Canada wishes to express its sincere condolences to the families and friends of the victims," officials said.