Alberta Fish and Wildlife is investigating after a woman was killed by a grizzly bear southwest of Water Valley on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Fish and Wildlife Insp. Kyle Juneau said he believes the woman encountered a mature grizzly female with a cub while she was walking on her private property.
“The individual had gone for a walk on their property and was found deceased on one of their trails,” said Alberta government spokesperson Dan Laville.
Wildlife officers said Wednesday that they put up traps and are working to determine the bear’s identity, noting a grizzly bear and a cub were seen in the area, with the sow “exhibiting aggressive behaviour.”
Juneau said Thursday investigators believed the bear was still in the area.
“I believe, from the evidence from the team in the field, that she was likely rearing her young on this property,” Juneau said. “Lots of people are worried and concerned and rightfully so.”
Despite reports in the area, Fish and Wildlife said there was only one attack.
Officers continue to investigate whether the bear is the same one responsible for an attack earlier this month in Waiporous, but Juneau said he doesn’t think that’s the case.
“It’s unlikely that a bear would have travelled that far with a bear young… but we can’t rule it out.”
Juneau said if the bear is caught, it likely will be put down.
Alberta Fish and Wildlife reminded people in the area — even on their own properties — to be vigilant: travel in groups and keep bear spray on hand.
If you encounter a bear, Alberta Fish and Wildlife said to:
- stay calm and do not run
- look around and back away if you see cubs or an animal carcass as the bear will want to protect them
- prepare to use bear spray
- back out and leave the area the way you came. “Keep your eye on the bear without staring at it aggressively.”
- look for a hiding place
- speak to the bear in a soft, low voice. “Let the bear know that you are human and not a prey animal.”
Officials explained that bears entering residential areas to eat unnatural food is a “public safety risk because they are easily habituated and may defend the food source.” Make sure you put garbage in bear-resistant and odour-proof containers or buildings, clean outdoor eating areas and maintain or remove gardens or fruit trees.
Report bear sightings or encounters to the Report a Poacher line at 1-800-642-3800.
Water Valley is about 80 kilometres northwest of Calgary.