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Grizzly bear struck and killed by train in Banff National Park

Bear 143 emerged from her den this spring with two young of year cubs – one with a white head

LAKE LOUISE – A female grizzly bear has been struck and killed by a Canadian Pacific train in Banff National Park on Thursday evening (Sept. 3). 

Officials with Parks Canada stated in a press release that the bear was hit and killed around 7:15 p.m. on the railway line between the Castle Junction and Lake Louise. 

Parks confirmed the bear is known to wildlife managers at bear 143, but said she was rarely seen in the front country of the national park. She was the sibling of female grizzly bear 142, which is frequently seen in the Lake Louise area with a two-and-a-half-year-old cub. 

"Her home range spanned Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks," stated the press release. "No grain spills or carcasses were observed by responding officers.

"Parks Canada and CP Rail are both investigating this mortality." 

Earlier this spring, Parks said bear 143 had two young-of-year cubs, including one brown coloured cub with a white head. However, officials were unable to provide details about the cubs when asked. 

According to Parks Canada, there are an estimated 60 to 80 grizzly bears with overlapping home ranges in Banff National Park. The last grizzly bear mortality on the rail line was in 2012. 

From 2012-16, Parks and CP, along with University of Alberta researchers, undertook a joint project to better understand the root causes of collisions involving grizzly bears on the rail line and develop solutions. 

"As a result, the agency has taken a number of management actions including creating alternate travel routes for wildlife near portions of railway and using prescribed fire and forest thinning to improve bear habitat," stated the release. 

Parks officials said an update would be provided once more information is available. 

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