The uncle of a Canadian man who was mauled to death by a grizzly last week alongside his partner in Alberta’s popular Banff National Park has revealed that he received a final message from the couple.
Colin Inglis told the Calgary Herald he received the SOS call from Doug Inglis and Jenny Gusse’s Garmin GPS device around 8:15 p.m. last Friday after hearing hours earlier that they were delayed in reaching a camping location in the Panther Valley area of the park.
“Bear attack bad.” was the message Inglis recalled getting in a call from the couple’s Garmin inReach device. “The alarm bells were going off, ‘this is not good’ — that means there’d been some engagement. You’re completely helpless to know what’s going on.”
Inglis also said he was told by Parks Canada officials that the tent the couple was using “was crushed and their e-readers were open” at the scene of the attack, where their 7-year-old border collie Tris died as well.
“One can of bear spray had been fully discharged, but this bear was not to be deterred,” he reportedly added.
Inglis told the Herald that both his nephew and Gusse worked at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Research Center in Lethbridge and had sent him their full hiking itinerary before venturing off into Banff National Park.
“They approached everything in their outdoor pursuits the same way they approached that science – the mapping, the planning, the food, everything,” Inglis said, noting the pair planned on retiring next year. “They did everything right, but bad things happen.”
Parks Canada said earlier this week that its staff received an alert Friday night that a “bear attack” was happening in the park.
“The response team arrived on-site at 1 a.m. and discovered two deceased individuals,” it said in a statement. “While in the area, the response team encountered a grizzly bear that displayed aggressive behavior, leading Parks Canada staff to euthanize the bear on-site to ensure public safety.”
Parks Canada later said after conducting a necropsy that the female bear in the attack was estimated to be more than 25 years old and in fair condition, with less than normal body fat for this time of year, according to Reuters.
The news agency, citing Parks Canada, also reported that officials found food hanging in a tree at the scene to appropriately avoid attracting animals.