A woman in Canmore, Alta., was attacked by a bear while walking her dog in an area closed off to the public due to multiple recent bear sightings.
According to officials, the attack occurred in a closed area near Rundle Forebay Reservoir in Canmore on Sunday, Aug. 6. The woman was treated in the hospital for scratches and her dog was unharmed.
The area has been closed since July 28 because of numerous sightings of bears eating berries in the area. One of the bears spotted in the vicinity was famed female grizzly, Bear 148, which was relocated 450-kilometers away last week to Kakwa Wildland Provincial Park.
Nick de Ruyter, who works with WildSmart, a non-profit organization that supports community efforts to reduce negative human-wildlife interactions in the Bow Valley, believes the woman should have been more alert to the closure.
“Locals should know better,” said Nick de Ruyter in an interview with the CBC. “A lot of the locals point fingers at visitors and tourists, but one of the things that locals need to know is that locals aren’t immune to bears. Everyone has to respect and obey the warnings and closures.”
Alberta Fish and Wildlife are investigating the circumstances of the encounter, and said it was likely “a defensive surprise encounter by the bear, and the bear will continued to be monitored along with all other bears in the area.”
To avoid bear encounters, the province recommends hikers remain alert, avoid wearing headphones while on trails, watch for fresh bear signs, travel in groups, keep your dog on a leash, and to carry and know how to use bear spray.