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Parks hopes for best with injured bear

A female grizzly bear has been struck on the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park, but it’s not known for sure if she’s survived her injuries.

A female grizzly bear has been struck on the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park, but it’s not known for sure if she’s survived her injuries.

Parks Canada officials know the five-and-a-half year-old bear, known as 108, survived the initial impact, which occurred on the highway near Mannix pit at Castle Junction about 10:45 p.m., Monday (July 11).

Resource conservation specialists from Lake Louise, Yoho and Kootenay helped get her safely off the highway by cutting a hole in the wildlife exclusion fence.

With help from wildlife officers from Banff, they scoured the area for any sign of the injured animal on Tuesday (July 12), but were unable to find her.

“It appeared she had pretty significant injures; she had difficulty moving,” said Steve Michel, human-wildlife conflict specialist for Banff National Park.

“We’re optimistic she might curl up somewhere and allow her injuries to heal, but we’re also being realistic about that possibility,” he added.

“Certainly, we’ve had bears before survive some pretty serious injuries after being hit in the transportation corridor, so we’re staying optimistic.”

Michel said resource conservation specialists from both the Banff field unit, and Lake Louise, Yoho and Kootenay field unit, will continue to work together and look for the injured grizzly.

She was initially captured in the Banff area and fitted with ear tags a couple of years ago, but she continually travels back and forth between the two jurisdictions.

Her ear tag transmitters are no longer transmitting.

“We’ll continue to look for her in the days ahead, but we don’t want to disturb her if she’s recovering on her own,” said Michel. “The two field units are working closely together to monitor this situation.”

Grizzly bear 108 is the daughter of grizzly bear 64, a high profile 22-year-old grizzly that came out of hibernation this spring with three cubs in tow.

Grizzly 108’s sister, known as 109, was killed by a train on the Canadian Pacific Railway in May 2010 near Five Mile Bridge, west of the Banff townsite. The family group separated in June 2009.

Michel said resource conservation officials also know that bear 108 had been spending quite a bit of time with a male grizzly during the breeding season.

“We have high hopes that she will be a reproducing female,” he said.

“The big concern for us is she has been injured.”

Michel said there have been several fence intrusions attributed to this bear in the last month, on both the east and west side of Castle Junction.

“The fence in the section west of Castle is still under construction and is not finished,” he said.


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