By Brandon Drenon
An “aggressive” grizzly bear has killed two people in Canada’s Banff National Park, park officials said on Sunday.
They were notified of the incident on Friday evening, after receiving a GPS alert used to report bear attacks.
A specialised response team then travelled on foot overnight through the mountains and located the deceased couple over 24 hours later.
The bear, still displaying aggressive behaviour, was euthanised on-site “to ensure public safety”, officials said.
It was the second deadly grizzly attack in North America since July.
When the alarm was triggered on Friday around 20:00 MT (03:00 BST), Parks Canada immediately mobilised a Wildlife Human Attack Response Team, according to a news release.
Weather conditions prevented officials from travelling to the site of the attack by helicopter.
They travelled on ground, arriving in the thick of night around 01:00 on Sunday.
The bodies of the victims were removed from the grounds in the Red Deer River Valley at around 05:00 local time – with the help of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police – and taken to Sundre, Alberta, over 186 miles (300km) away.
Officials did not identify the victims, but a family member told Canadian media they were a couple who were seasoned backcountry hikers.
“They lived for being in the backcountry and were two of the most cautious people I know. They knew bear protocol and followed it to a tee,” the family member told CBC News in a statement.
The family member said the couple’s dog was also killed by the grizzly.
An estimated 691 grizzly bears live in Alberta – 65 of them in Banff National Park – according to Parks Canada.
Only 14% of grizzly bear attacks are fatal, according to Reuters, but as more people head outdoors, human-bear encounters are on the rise.
In July, a grizzly bear fatally mauled a woman on a forest trail west of Yellowstone National Park.
Following the attack at Banff National Park, officials closed an area around Red Deer and Panther valleys, Parks Canada said.
“This is a tragic incident, and Parks Canada wishes to express its sincere condolences to the families and friends of the victims,” officials said.