Black bear killed after mauling dog to death in Jasper National Park

Apr 25 2023, 7:10 pm

Parks Canada says it killed a black bear suspected in the fatal attack of a dog in Jasper National Park over the weekend.

On Saturday, around 4 pm, two visitors were hiking with two dogs on the Wabasso Lake Trail. The hikers were returning to the trailhead with the dogs running freely between the hikers.

They noticed a black bear had approached them within very close proximity on the trail, and one of the dogs chased the bear off the trail a short distance before the bear quickly reversed the chase.

The bear came back within a couple of feet of one of the hikers where the second dog was standing and barking, Parks Canada stated.

The bear attacked this dog, and one hiker reportedly sprayed bear spray into the bear’s face at close range. The bear did not release the dog, and the hiker then used the bear spray can to punch the bear in the head multiple times, with the bear still not releasing the dog and carrying it into the woods.

“This close and aggressive approach by a large black bear is very concerning behaviour,” Parks Canada stated.

“The attack on the dog and subsequent caching of the carcass indicates predatory behaviour. This behaviour is considered a threat to public safety and a risk to park visitors.”

As a result of the attack, Parks Canada human-wildlife conflict specialists located the bear and destroyed it on Sunday, April 23, 2023.

Parks Canada added that destroying a bear is a last resort and considers hazing first and foremost to deter bears from highly visited areas, and then considers trapping and relocation.

“In this unusual and concerning encounter, the large 92 kg male bear, which had no identifying tags indicating previous interactions with Parks Canada personnel, displayed no fear or reaction to bear spray or punches. This non-typical behaviour indicates a highly habituated bear and increased the likelihood of further negative interactions,” it added.

Parks Canada added that it had reopened several hiking trails in the area that were closed due to the attack. However, Wabasso Lake Trail remains closed.

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