Calgary

One of 3 bear cubs rescued from Banff washroom eaten by grizzly, officials believe

One of the three young black bears that had been rescued last year from a public washroom in Banff National Park and later released into the wild appears to have been eaten by a grizzly bear.

'Staff discovered her carcass when her GPS collar switched into mortality mode'

One of the three bear cubs relocated to Banff this spring after hibernating in Ontario has been preyed upon by a grizzly, Parks Canada says. (Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary)

One of the three young black bears that had been rescued last year from a public washroom in Banff National Park and later released into the wild appears to have been eaten by a grizzly bear.

Conservation officers found the yearling's carcass after her GPS collar "switched to mortality mode" on Aug. 28 due to being stationary for 24 hours, Parks Canada said in a release Wednesday.

"Most of the bear was consumed. We were able to find the skull with a large puncture wound through the skull, which, you know, is indicative of it being a larger bear," said resource conservation officer Bill Hunt.

"It's certainly always a risk. Even bears that are still with their mother, yearlings, face that threat from larger male bears or grizzly bears."

The young bruin was killed in a thick patch of buffalo berries near the Clear Water River, Hunt said.

The trio of black bear cubs was found last April by a motorist at the roadside facility at the Vermilion Lakes turnout just west of the Banff townsite.

Sheila Luey, acting superintendent for the Banff field unit, says it is not at all clear how the cubs got locked in the roadside washroom last year. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

After an exhaustive search for their mother yielded no results, they were sent for rehabilitation to the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Muskoka, Ont.

After hibernating in Ontario, the three female bears were returned to the mountain park this spring.

"Surprisingly they separated from each other almost immediately, within the first day or so," Hunt said.

Parks Canada is still monitoring the GPS data of the other two bears and they're moving around landscape. 

"And, given that it was a good berry year, we're optimistic that they're in good shape," Hunt said.

After being found locked inside an outdoor washroom near Banff, three black bear cubs were taken to an Ontario wildlife sanctuary for treatment until they could be released back into the wild in Alberta. (Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary)

now