Grizzly Attack Update: Victims Had Bear Spray

There has been an update about the grizzly attack in Canada’s Banff National Park that left two people dead last Friday.

In the fatal incident, a husband and wife and their dog perished. Around 8 pm on Friday evening, one of the couple was able to send a satellite message indicating a bear incident. The device also gave their coordinates. Parks officials trekked in during poor weather and reached the site at about 1 am. They found an aggressive grizzly on the scene, which they shot.

The autopsy revealed that it was an older, female bear that had less fat than normal for this time of year. The deceased couple did have two cans of bear spray with them and had hung their food properly. This confirms that they were already in camp — unsurprising, considering that it was near-dark by 8 pm.

We don’t know if either had managed to deploy the bear spray. At least one of the victims had had time to send the GPS message.

It is also unclear whether their dog had been on a leash before the incident. The couple had the proper backcountry camping permits.

Parks Canada did not say whether there was a carcass nearby. But the 25-year-old non-lactating female did not have cubs that she was defending.

“The bear was not collared or tagged and was not previously known to Parks Canada staff,” the organization said on Tuesday.

Parks Canada says it’s impossible to know what exactly happened leading up to the attack and it did not care to speculate, according to CTV News.

The area of the attack, in the remote Red Deer River Valley north of Lake Louise, remains closed.

Jerry Kobalenko

Jerry Kobalenko is the editor of ExplorersWeb. One of Canada’s premier arctic travelers, he is the author of The Horizontal Everest and Arctic Eden, and has just finished a book about adventures in Labrador. In 2018, he was awarded the Polar Medal by the Governor General of Canada and in 2022, he received the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal for services to exploration.