A 62-year-old woman was at her remote family cabin on Ontario's Red Pine Island Sunday when she heard her two dogs barking around 6pm and went outside. One of the dogs returned, hurt, but the woman didn't. Her parents called police, and eventually provincial officers found the woman's body—with a yearling black bear standing over it, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Another yearling and a sow were in the brush nearby, stomping and making aggressive noises. Officers shot and killed the bear that had fatally mauled the woman, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry will decide what to do with the other two.
The island, which is on Rainy Lake in Canadian waters, is just across the border from Minnesota, which is where the woman's parents are from. The ministry says in a statement that "attacks of this nature are extremely rare," and Minnesota bear experts say the same. Fatal attacks by black bears are even more rare, they add, with one expert estimating there have been "probably zero or one since statehood" in Minnesota. Experts say bears are naturally wary of humans and may try to scare a person away but won't get close. Most bear attacks are defensive in nature, they say; one notes that if a bear was cornered by a barking dog, it might take the rare step of getting physical. (Read more bear attack stories.)