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Grizzly Bear That Killed Mom, Baby Ate Porcupine First

Little could have been done to prevent Yukon tragedy, wildlife officer says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2019 3:41 AM CDT
Updated Mar 28, 2019 6:00 AM CDT
A grizzly bear travels across the Porcupine River Tundra in the Yukon Territory, Canada.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
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(Newser) – A bear that killed a woman and her baby daughter in Canada's Yukon Territory in November was so desperate for food that it had eaten a porcupine, whose quills badly injured its digestive system, authorities say. Gordon Hitchcock, Yukon's chief conservation officer, said there was nothing Valérie Théorêt could have done to prevent the rare predatory attack, the CBC reports. He said the starving 18-year-old male grizzly did not have enough body fat to hibernate. Heather Jones, Yukon's chief coroner, said at a Wednesday news conference that the bear had apparently followed snowmobile tracks to the remote cabin where Théorêt, 37, lived with trapper husband Gjermund Roesholt.

Jones said tracks suggest that the bear hid in branches near a trail and attacked Théorêt and her 10-month-old daughter Adele, who was in a carrier on her mother's back, as they walked by, the BBC reports. She said the mother and daughter were killed almost instantly. Roesholt shot the bear dead after it charged him when he returned from checking a trapline. He found the bodies of his wife and daughter nearby. Hitchcock described Roesholt and Théorêt, a teacher who was on maternity leave, as "an experienced pair of backcountry users" who made sure there was nothing around the cabin that would attract bears. "Our investigation shows that more than anything else, this was an unfortunate tragedy and that little could have been done to prevent it," he said. (Read more bear attack stories.)

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