In a sad dispatch from Banff National Park, wildlife officials have confirmed that all four of the grizzly bear cubs born in 2014 have since died.
Late last year, wildlife officials confirmed one of the bears being monitored as part of a joint project between Parks Canada and Canadian Pacific—dubbed collared bear No. 130—lost her two cubs.
This past summer, it was reported that the other grizzly mother, collared bear No. 138, also lost both of her cubs.
Steve Michel, human-wildlife specialist at the Banff National Park, says that predation is what killed the four bears, the only known cubs in the park.
“The two bears that we had in our study group of collared animals that gave birth to cubs of the year, they each had a litter of two cubs,” Michel said in an interview with the Calgary Herald. “All four of those cubs were killed by large adult male grizzly bears.”
The two most recent deaths were confirmed via remote camera data.
The past year was a tough one for bears in Banff National Park. At least 15 blacks bears were hit on nearby highways, with seven of those bears dying from their injuries. In late July, a grizzly was struck by a car and perished on another highway.
The latest two cub deaths are a devastating blow on the already small grizzly bear population. In Alberta, there are about 700 bears, with only 65 in Banff National Park.
Declared by the province as an endangered species, organizations like Parks Canada are researching ways to prevent deaths and boosting the already dwindling numbers.
Habitat fragmentation and loss caused by humans is the biggest threat to grizzly bear survival.