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Mother and Baby Mauled to Death by Grizzly Bear in Canada’s Yukon

© Flickr / ValerieGrizzly Bear
Grizzly Bear - Sputnik International
A Canadian trapper came home on Monday to find that a grizzly bear had killed his wife and their young daughter while he was away from their cabin in the Yukon, a wild, mountainous and sparsely populated territory in northwest Canada.

The Yukon Coroner's Service has identified the victims as 37-year-old Valertie Theoret and 10-month-old Adele Roesholt. They were killed in the Einarson Lake area, northeast of Mayo near the Northwest Territories border.

According to the Coroner's Service release, the Mayo Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) received a call from Gjermund Roesholt — a trapper — on Monday at around 3:45 p.m. saying that he had been charged by a grizzly bear about 100 meters from a cabin where he lived with his wife, Theoret, and daughter, Adele. After shooting the bear dead, he returned to the cabin, where he found the bodies of his wife and daughter outside.

"It appears they had been out for a walk when the incident occurred," coroner Heather Jones said in the release, which also states that Theoret and her child had gone outside for a walk some time between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when they were attacked by the bear. The family had been trapping wild animals in the area for their fur for the past three months.

Theoret was a sixth grade French immersion teacher at Whitehorse Elementary School in Whitehorse, Yukon Department of Education spokesperson Michele Royle confirmed to media outlets November 27. Royle noted that grief counselors would be available at the school Wednesday to provide support for students and staff members.

An investigation into the incident by the Yukon Coroner's Service, the Mayo RCMP, the RCMP's forensic identification section and Environment Yukon (an environmental government agency) is currently ongoing. In a statement to Sputnik Wednesday, Roxanne Stasyszyn, director of communications and public engagement at Environment Yukon, said Yukon Conservation Officers, the RCMP and the coroner were continuing their investigation and extended her "deepest condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of Valerie Theoret and Adele Roesholt."

"I can confirm that we do intend on conducting a necropsy in collaboration with the coroner," Stasyszyn wrote. "This was a tragic event, and we appreciate the public's want for more information. We are committed to providing more information as soon as we are able."

"We also provide extensive resources on staying safe in bear country on Yukon.ca. For more information on what to do if you encounter a bear, see the ‘How you can stay safe in bear country' brochure, which is available in English, French and German on the website," she continued.

Many grizzly bear attacks are caused by close encounters in which the animals feel threatened by humans. A female bear with cubs might be particularly aggressive to protect her young.

In an interview with the National Geographic, Dave Garshelis, bear project leader at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, said that the "absolute best thing" to prevent a bear attack is to carry and use bear spray, a type of pepper spray.

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