Black Bear Euthanized After Fatally Mauling Woman in Rare Attack

A woman in Alberta, Canada was mauled to death by a black bear in a rare attack on Saturday. To prevent another fatal attack, local wildlife officials identified and subsequently euthanized the bear.

The Guardian reported the woman, 26, was working as a helicopter engineer in a remote part of the Albertan forest. She and her colleague were planting trees in an effort to re-forest part of the area after recent logging operations. Sadly, as they worked, she was mauled by the bear in what is believed to be a totally unprovoked attack.

Her colleague, who bore witness to the incident, was able to scare off the bear before calling the police, said The Guardian.

"She was evacuated by her co-worker on a helicopter and brought back to the Swan Hills airport where they met up with an ambulance, emergency crews, and she was subsequently declared deceased at the airport," Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokesperson Cpl. Troy Savinkoff said according to the publication.

Wildlife officials set up trail cameras and traps in an effort to locate the bear. They also took a DNA sample of the bear from the victim's clothing so they could properly identify the bear responsible for the attack upon capture.

Three days after the attack, officials announced to the press their methods were successful. The bear was identified and euthanized in order to prevent another fatal attack.

"Fish and wildlife officers obtained DNA samples from bears located near the incident site," a spokesperson for Alberta Justice told Global News Tuesday.

"The DNA analysis concluded that one of the bears, an adult female black bear that did not appear to have cubs, was responsible for the attack."

The spokesperson told Global News the decision to euthanize the bear was made in accordance with the Black Bear Response Guide.

Alberta's Black Bear Response Guide is a wildlife management strategy that aims to protect humans, property and the black bear population. The guide was created by biologists, enforcement specialists and problem wildlife specialists, and helps officials determine what to do with a black bear should an incident occur.

The guide states that preventative actions should always be the first response; however, some circumstances allow for the lethal removal of a bear. In this case, the bear was determined a "predator," and seen as a future threat.

"This decision is never made lightly, and when it is made, it is to prevent more attacks by that particular bear," the spokesperson told Global News.

Albertan wildlife officials removed the traps from the area where the woman was killed. And while Saturday's attack was rare, wildlife officials are encouraging all people to be mindful of bear safety guidelines when entering any part of the Albertan wilderness.

Multiple reports stated there have only been five fatal black bear attacks reported in Alberta since 1958. But in 2014, National Geographic reported that fatal black bear attacks across North America had begun to increase.

National Geographic cited a 2011 study in the Journal of Wildlife Management that found 63 people had been killed in 59 attacks by black bears from 1900 to 2009 across North America. Scientists stated that 86 percent of those attacks had occurred since 1960.

Another study cited by the publication found there had been a total of 92 black bear attacks across Canada and the U.S. between 2010 and 2013. The number accounted for both lethal and nonlethal attacks. Thirty-two attacks occurred in 2013 alone, an increase from 19 attacks in 2010.

At the time, scientists told National Geographic the increase in attacks was a result of the expanding black bear population.

"We have more people, we have more bears, and we have more people living in bear habitat," research biologist John Beecham told National Geographic. Black bear attacks are "a function of more people coming into contact with black bears."

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A woman was mauled to death by a black bear in a rare attack in Alberta, Canada. To prevent further attacks, the bear has since been euthanized by wildlife officials. George Rose / Contributor/Getty