Grizzly that killed Alberta woman captured, will be euthanized

Alberta Fish and Wildlife says it has captured and will euthanize a grizzly that killed a woman near Water Valley last week.

Older, female bear with no cubs was behind attack, fish and wildlife officers say

A grizzly is pictured in a file photo. An older, female grizzly has been captured and will be euthanized after killing a woman in southern Alberta last week. (Government of Yukon)

Alberta Fish and Wildlife says it has captured and will euthanize a grizzly that killed a woman near Water Valley last week.

A 68-year-old woman was killed in a bear attack on Tuesday on her property near Water Valley, which is in Mountain View County, about 80 kilometres northwest of Calgary. Fish and wildlife officers said a grizzly sow seen in the area had been exhibiting aggressive behaviour.

On Saturday, fish and wildlife officers captured two large female grizzlies near the site of the attack. 

One of the bears was lactating but did not appear to be actively nursing, and was not accompanied by cubs. The other bear was older, with extremely worn teeth. 

Officers took DNA samples from both bears, which confirmed the older grizzly was responsible for the fatal attack. 

The DNA tests concluded neither bear was involved in another fatal grizzly attack, which killed a man out for a run in the Waiparous Village area earlier in the month.

Fish and wildlife said the bear that killed the woman will be euthanized on Saturday, in accordance with the province's guide to managing human and bear interactions.

"This decision is never made lightly, and when it is made, it is to prevent more attacks by that particular bear. The second bear will be released at a to-be-determined location. All traps will be removed from the area," the province said.

Fish and wildlife said that due to an unusually high number of bears still in the area, residents are being asked to continue to be cautious.

Experts say fatal bear attacks are very rare incidents, and one bear biologist based in Canmore said it is "far more likely to have an encounter with a bear where nothing happens."

What to do if you encounter a bear

Alberta Fish and Wildlife said anyone who encounters a bear in the wild should follow these steps:

  • Stay calm and do not run. Stay with your group and keep children close. 
  • Back away if you see cubs or an animal carcass. The bear will want to protect them.
  • Prepare to defend yourself with bear spray.
  • Back away, leaving the way you came. Keep your eye on the bear without staring at it aggressively.
  • Look for a place to hide, such as a car or building.
  • Speak to the bear in a soft, low voice. Let the bear know that you are human and not prey.

Bear sightings can be reported to Alberta's 24/7 report a poacher line at 1-800-642-3800.


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