Couple and Their Dog Killed in Grizzly Bear Attack at Canadian National Park: 'Tragic Incident'

Banff National Park announced the deaths on its Facebook page on Sunday

<p>Getty</p> A grizzly bear


A grizzly bear

A grizzly bear killed a couple and their dog at Canada's Banff National Park on Friday, shortly before the bear was euthanized for displaying "aggressive behavior."

The park — one of the country's 37 national parks — announced the deaths on its Facebook page Sunday, when it revealed that Parks Canada Dispatch were alerted to a bear attack via GPS at around 8 p.m. MT Friday.

According to Banff National Park's post, the attack took place in the Red Deer River Valley, where Parks Canada sent out the Wildlife Human Attack Response Team in response.

The team found two "deceased individuals" at 1 a.m. after the response team traveled by ground due to weather conditions not allowing for helicopter travel. They also discovered a bear that "displayed aggressive behavior" and Parks Canada euthanized it.

At 5 a.m., Sundre Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) arrived at the scene and transported the victims to Sundre, Alberta, per the Facebook post. The area of the reported bear attack was then closed as a result.

"This is a tragic incident, and Parks Canada wishes to express its sincere condolences to the families and friends of the victims," Banff National Park said.

Related: How to Prevent Bear Attacks and What to Do If a Bear Approaches You, According to Experts

<p>Getty</p> Banff National Park


Banff National Park

Kim Titchener, a friend of the family and the founder of Bear Safety and More, told Reuters that the victims of the bear attack were a couple and their dog. Titchener added that bear encounters are increasing as more people go outside, but that fatal attacks are rare.

"It's really just the reason why we're seeing more attacks, which is more people heading outdoors and unfortunately not being educated on this," she said.

Both grizzly and black bears inhabit the Banff National Park area, and Titchener told Reuters that the estimated 60 grizzly bears living there are considered to be a threatened population in local Alberta.

News of bear attacks this year hasn't been hard to come by, as in August alone, an 82-year-old woman was attacked by a black bear in her Colorado home, and a 7-year-old boy was attacked in his yard in New York.

Steve Searles of Animal Planet's reality show The Bear Whisperer told PEOPLE shortly after that, still, "there are countless, tens of thousands [of] encounters every day without it going bad, without an incident."

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Grizzlies have killed eight people in Yellowstone National Park since 1872, as previously reported. And Searles, who co-wrote his new book What the Bears Know with columnist Chris Erskine, told PEOPLE this summer that if you encounter a bear, you should not run from it, as they "run 35 miles an hour."

"We're just about to go into a really busy time where bears will be seen day and night and feeding," he added in August. "And so that's a time where you should be more aware of your surroundings, situationally aware of where you live, the likelihood of encountering a bear, and take that into account, whatever you're doing — riding bicycles or kayaking."

As for if a bear approaches you, the Animal Planet star recommended making "a loud noise" and holding your "hands above your head." Bear spray is also a viable defense option, per the authors.

"Steve's message is, 'I hate fear. I hate what it does to us, what it deprives us of,'" Erskine said. “And that, to me, is the great message. And that's what we learned from being outdoors and dealing with the things we don't understand. And as we learn to understand them, we appreciate them."

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