Bear that fatally mauled woman euthanized by Alberta Fish and Wildlife

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A black bear that fatally mauled a woman near Swan Hills on Saturday has been euthanized.

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Swan Hills RCMP received a report of the bear attack shortly after 3 p.m. The 26-year-old woman was working as a tree planter with a co-worker in the area about 220 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.

She was evacuated on a helicopter and brought to the Swan Hills Airport where she was declared deceased by emergency medical services.

In an emailed statement, Shawna King, spokeswoman for Alberta Fish and Wildlife, said they received a call at approximately 4:30 p.m. Saturday from RCMP about the attack on Crown land 30 kilometres northwest of Swan Hills .

“During their investigation, fish and wildlife officers set up a trail camera and bear traps in the area, and took samples from the victim’s clothing to create a DNA profile of the offending bear,” King said.

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“Officers located three black bears near the site of the incident and submitted DNA to the forensic lab for analysis. On August 2, the analysis confirmed a profile match to one of the bears, an adult female that did not appear to have cubs.”

The adult bear was then euthanized in accordance to the Black Bear Response Guide.

“This decision is never made lightly, and when it is made, it is to prevent more attacks by that particular bear,” King said.

All traps have now been removed, however, due to the large number of bears still in the area, citizens are urged to observe bear safety rules and guidelines to keep everyone safe and avoid human-wildlife conflict.

Tips on how to prevent an encounter in bear country can be found at alberta.ca/bears-and-outdoor-recreation.aspx and more info can also be found through Alberta’s BearSmart program, a public awareness program for people visiting, living or working in bear territory, at alberta.ca/alberta-bearsmart-program-overview.aspx.

If an individual spots or encounters a bear, they can report it through Fish and Wildlife’s 24/7 Report a Poacher line at 1-800-642-3800.

— with files from Lisa Johnson

ajunker@postmedia.com

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