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Bear that killed campers in Banff not previously known to Parks Canada

Parks Canada said the grizzly bear that killed two hikers in Banff National Park last week had lower than normal body fat for this time of year.

Bear spray found at scene of deadly attack, food was properly stored, Parks Canada says

A sign which reads "Banff National Park."

Parks Canada said the grizzly bear that killed two backcountry campers in Banff National Park last week was not previously known to Parks Canada and had lower than normal body fat for this time of year.

In a media release issued Tuesday, Parks Canada said it has conducted a necropsy on the bear, and found it to be a non-lactating older female estimated to be over 25 years old.

This comes after the bear attacked and killed two people in Banff National Park west of Sundre, Alta., on Friday night.

Parks Canada said the bear was deemed to be in fair body condition, but her teeth were in poor condition.

"DNA samples from the bear have been sent to the lab confirm that it was the animal responsible for the attack. Updated results from these studies will only be provided if they differ from the information shared to date," the media release said.

The bear was shot and killed hours after the emergency response call was received, when Parks Canada staff arrived at the scene and the bear charged the response team.

The people who died were long-time partners, according to a family member of one of the deceased. The couple's dog, who was with them at the time, was also killed.

Parks Canada said it would not be releasing information related to their identities, but provided further information on the scene of the attack.

Parks Canada said two cans of bear spray were found at the scene, and the couple's food had been hung appropriately.

"The individuals were on a backcountry hiking and camping trip and had the appropriate permits to do so. The individuals were also travelling with their dog," Parks Canada said.

At the time of the incident, there was no active bear warning or area closure in place. The area, in the Red Deer River Valley west of Ya Ha Tinda Ranch, remains closed to the public.

"Bear attacks are rare occurrences. Fatal bear attacks are even less frequent. Over the last 10 years, there have been three recorded non-fatal, contact encounters with grizzly bears in Banff National Park. These incidents were the result of surprise encounters. This incident is the first grizzly bear-caused fatality recorded in Banff National Park in decades," Parks Canada said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jade Markus

Digital journalist

Jade Markus is a digital journalist at CBC Calgary.

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