Stroll ends in horror as grizzly bear kills mom and her baby
Husband discovers bodies of wife and 10-month-old daughter after attack at remote Canadian cabin
A mother and her 10-month-old daughter have been killed by a grizzly bear in Canada’s Yukon territory, a coroner said.
The bodies of Valerie Theoret, 37, and little Adele were found by the child’s father Gjermund Roesholt at the family’s remote cabin at about 3pm on Monday. Coroner Heather Jones said Theoret and Adele appeared to have been out for a walk in the remote wilderness between 10am and 3pm when the attack occurred.
Theoret, originally from Quebec, was on maternity leave from her job as a primary school teacher at a school in Whitehorse, the Yukon’s only city. The family, described by friends as competent bush people, had spent the past three months trapping at Einarson Lake, more than 400km northeast of Whitehorse.
Roesholt was on the family’s trapline when the attack occurred, the coroner said. He returned just before 3pm and was immediately charged by a grizzly bear, assumed to be the same animal, about 100m from the cabin. He managed to shoot and kill the animal but when he reached the cabin he found the bodies of his partner and child outside. Roesholt used an emergency beacon device to call for help.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the coroner are investigating the “suspected bear attack”, Yukon officials said.
“It’s a big, big blow. Everybody is totally devastated right now,” family friend Rémy Beaupré told Canada’s CBC.
Beaupré said the couple bought their remote trapline about three years ago and spent as much time as they could outdoors. “It was the plan all along to go there and spend a lot of time there, but Valérie couldn’t really take a lot of time off because she was a teacher,” he said. “Being on her maternity leave, now was the opportunity for them to all go as a family. So they just took their baby and went out on the trap line.”
Beaupré added that the couple were very experienced and would have been “well prepared” for the challenges of living in the Canadian wilderness.
An increasingly erratic climate and encroachment on their habitat has been blamed for several animal attacks in the past two years in Canada, including the killing of an Inuit hunter by a polar bear in Nunavut in August.
Whitehorse Elementary School, where Theoret taught, notified parents of her death on Tuesday, and said there was a support team at the school for staff and pupils.
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