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Mama grizzly bear kills mountain goat, forces trail closure near Moraine Lake

“Parks Canada staff investigated and found female grizzly Bear 142 and her yearling cub had successfully predated the adult goat next to the main hiking trail."
Paradise Valley is closed until further notice to allow a grizzly bear and her yearling cub to feed on a mountain goat carcass

LAKE LOUISE – A well-known female grizzly bear and her yearling cub successfully hunted a mountain goat near Lake Louise, forcing the closure of a premiere hiking region of Banff National Park so they can feed in peace.

Parks Canada officials say a group of hikers reported two grizzly bears chasing a mountain goat in Paradise Valley near Moraine Lake on Wednesday (Aug. 30).

“Parks Canada staff investigated and found female grizzly Bear 142 and her yearling cub had successfully predated the adult goat next to the main hiking trail,” said James Eastham, a spokesperson for Lake Louise, Yoho and Kootenay field unit.
“Parks Canada has implemented an area closure for the Paradise Valley area to provide the bears space while they feed on the mountain goat and reduce the risk of a negative human-wildlife encounter.”
Previous research in other areas such as Caw Ridge in west-central Alberta, about 30 kilometres northwest of Grande Cache – which has the province’s largest mountain goat population – shows grizzly bears can be significant predators of mountain goats.

This is the second known time this year that the high profile grizzly No. 142 has successfully taken down a mountain goat.

Believed to be about 13 years old, she was seen feeding on a mountain goat carcass in early May, forcing the closure of an area of the Plain of Six Glaciers trail near Lake Louise.

At the time, it was not known with 100 per cent certainty if the grizzly bear predated on the mountain goat, or if she dragged it from a nearby avalanche path.

Steeve Côté, a renowned mountain goat expert and professor at Quebec's Laval University, said mountain goats are difficult to take down, but grizzly bears are very powerful animals and have killed thousands of goats in Alberta, British Columbia and Alaska over the years.

"This is a normal natural phenomenon," he said.

As for this most recent closure of Paradise area, campers with backcountry reservations have been notified and day-use shuttle passes to Paradise Valley will not be available until the closure is lifted.

Those caught violating the closure could face a fine of up to $25,000 in court.

“Visitors should avoid this area until further notice,” said Eastham.

In a rare turn of events back in September 2021, a mountain goat turned the tables on a grizzly bear by killing it with its sharp stiletto-like horns as it fought for its life against the attacking bruin.

A forensic necropsy determined the 70-kilogram female grizzly bear had been killed by a mountain goat that delivered fatal blows to both of the bear’s armpits and area beneath its neck.

A hiker discovered the grizzly bear carcass on the busy Labour Day long weekend that year, just metres off the Burgess Pass trail, a 12.9-kilometre out-and-back trail located near Field in Yoho National Park.

Though classified as carnivores, grizzly bears are omnivorous.

They eat a variety of plants at specific stages of growth throughout the year in the Canadian Rockies, such as berries and roots, with meat making up about 15 per cent of their diet.

Banff National Park’s grizzly bear population is estimated to be about 65.

In 2022, grizzly bear 142 emerged from the den with three cubs in tow, however, two of them were likely killed by grizzly bear No. 136, also known as Split Lip for his disfigured mouth. Split Lip was spotted chasing the cubs near Upper Lake Louise on the night of June 22 last year, and in the following days, bear 142 was seen with only one cub.

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