On July 31, a woman was fatally mauled by a black bear about 140 miles northwest of Edmonton, Alberta. The bear attacked the 26-year-old around 3 p.m. while she was working in the remote Swan Hills area, which she had accessed by helicopter to plant trees.
"Some effort was put in to try to scare the bear off," Cpl. Troy Savinkoff told CBC News. "And ultimately, the witness was able to secure her and airlift her on their helicopter out of the area to get them to emergency services."
Despite the fast action that got the woman to medical attention at the Swan Hills Airport, she was declared dead on arrival.
Authorities collected DNA samples from the victim’s clothing to aid in identifying the bear. Alberta Fish and Wildlife set up trail cameras and traps in the area within hours of the attack.
According to a press release from Alberta Fish and Wildlife Enforcement, “Officers located three black bears near the site of the incident and submitted DNA to the forensic lab for analysis. On Aug. 2, the analysis confirmed a profile match to one of the bears, an adult female that did not appear to have cubs.”
Officials euthanized the bear in accordance with Alberta’s Black Bear Response Guide, which prioritizes balancing the needs of wildlife with those of the public. “This decision is never made lightly, and when it is made, it is to prevent more attacks by that particular bear,” the AFW release stated.
Alberta Fish and Wildlife urges people to refresh themselves on bear safety information before entering predator-populated wildlife areas. “Doing so will help keep everyone safe by avoiding human-wildlife conflict and prevent a similar tragedy from occurring.”
Although black bear attacks that result in mortality are uncommon, they are not unheard of. This is actually the second fatal attack this year, following another incident in Colorado.
The woman’s family did not wish to reveal her identity at this time. MeatEater sends our condolences to those impacted by this tragic incident.
Feature image via Tony Bynum.