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Police are warning people working or travelling in wilderness areas to exercise caution as bears come out hibernation. (File photo)

A grizzly bear attacked and killed a 28-year-old man on Friday as he worked in the bush north of Whitehorse, police say.

Jean-Francois Pagé was killed about 30 kilometres east of Ross River, where he was flagging for a mining company.

Pagé originally from Quebec, was marking mineral claims with two other men when he failed to return to their work camp. The men reported Pagé missing to a helicopter pilot, who notified police.

A helicopter search located his body.

RCMP say Pagé was apparently attacked after coming within five metres of a bear den that contained two cubs.

They believe the sow probably attacked Pagé to protect its young, and say the man was likely killed instantly.

The mother bear and cubs were killed at the scene by RCMP and conservation officers.

Police are now warning people working or travelling in wilderness areas to exercise caution as bears come out of their seasonal hibernation.

Ross River, located about 198 kilometres northeast of Whitehorse, has been a hotspot for mining exploration in recent years.

The last confirmed fatal human-grizzly encounter in the Yukon was in 1996, when a woman was killed while hiking in Kluane National Park.

In June 2005, a grizzly bear killed a Quebec woman near Canmore, Alta.