A rehabilitated black bear that was one of three cubs found last year in a Vermillion Lakes public washroom and later released into Banff National Park has been found dead.
Parks Canada said the bear encountered another bear in a large buffalo berry patch in August — something Bill Hunt, a resource conservation manager, said shows the orphaned cub cued in on a critical food source at the right time.
“In August, bears need to eat a lot of buffalo berries to get in shape for the winter and the fact that this bear was doing that is encouraging,” he explained.
“At least it was in the right place to get that food, but unfortunately, that also put it into another bear’s habitat. And so this larger bear — whether it was a black bear or grizzly we don’t know for sure — preyed upon it and that’s not uncommon.”
“Parks Canada resource conservation staff discovered her carcass when her GPS collar switched into mortality mode after it was stationary for 24 hours,” added David Dunbar, public relations and communications officer with Parks Canada.
The bear was found dead on Aug. 28, according to Parks Canada.
The cubs were found on April 1, 2017, at the west washroom at the Vermilion Lakes pull-off, about three kilometres west of the western entrance to the town of Banff off the Trans-Canada Highway.
The unlikely trio was discovered by a man who was driving by and made a pit stop to use the facilities.
At the time, an official with Banff National Park estimated the cubs were roughly three months old and weighed between four and six pounds each.
The bears spent about 15 months at a facility in Ontario before being released into the park’s backcountry on July 17.
— With files from Global News’ Caley Ramsay, Tracy Nagai and Kaylen Small