A Jasper man was taken to hospital with minor injuries after a run-in with a grizzly bear on Saturday night.
Wildlife conflict specialist Steven Malcom said the man, who is around 25 years old, was mountain biking down a popular trail between Cottonwood Slough and Patricia Lake in Jasper when he encountered a grizzly bear.
"The grizzly bear reacted defensively and hit the biker on the side of the back with its paw and created some scrapes on [his] back," said Malcom. "While the biker was down the bear then jumped on him."
Fortunately, the man was wearing a small backpack with a can of bear spray in it. It may have saved his life.
"When the bear was attempting to bite, he ended up biting just the backpack and ended up activating the bear spray in his mouth," said Malcom. "That pretty well pulled the bear right off. He left the scene and never came back."
Park officials did a complete sweep of the area but found no signs of the bear. The area will remain closed for about a week as a precaution.
The man — who promptly called 911 after the attack — was taken to hospital with minor injuries and was eventually released.
"He really did everything that we would want," said Malcom of the attack victim. "This was just bad timing. He happened to come across a bear. Maybe the bear didn't hear him early enough to get out of the area and became defensive."