B.C. woman complained about bears before death: family
A B.C. woman apparently mauled to death outside Lillooet late last month had complained about bears trying to get into her home, according to her family.
Stl'atl'imx Tribal Police found fed-upon remains along with items of bloodstained clothing and a pair of glasses near her remote property on Thursday.
A trail of blood led from her home to a dense wooded area about 150 feet away, where apparent bear beds and feces were found.
Though the woman, a respected First Nations elder in her late 70s, may have died of natural causes before being found by bears, conservation officials say there are signs she was mauled.
Her family worries her death could have been prevented.
"I heard she had phoned around complaining about bears trying to get into her house," cousin Bob Adolph told CTV News. "She phoned her daughter and her daughter had phoned asking to check up on her, but nobody did anything."
Conservation officers say those complaints only made it as far as the local First Nations band. Tribal police say members visited the home, though no bears were dispatched.
An autopsy on Monday will confirm the victim's identity and cause of death. Officials say fatal bear attacks are rare in British Columbia, which has seen only two since 2002.
Four bears have been caught and killed since Friday, and further tests will determine if one of the bears was involved in the apparent attack.
Conservation officer Rod Olsen says he's confident they have located the bear responsible based on the colour of fur that was found at the scene.
"The final bear that we snared last evening was within metres of where the remains were found and fit that [colour] description, so we're hopeful that we have the right animal," he said.
Officials say the location of the apparent mauling suggests no immediate threat to public safety. The deceased's home is located kilometres from her closest neighbour and separated from Lillooet by river.
However, if the bear responsible has not been caught, Olsen said a potential issue could arise later in the summer when the river level drops.
"It's not unusual for bears to swim over into Lillooet," he said. "The fact that it's fed upon a person, we want to remove that bear from the area."
Chief Art Adloph issued a statement on behalf of the victim's family on Saturday.
"It's a sad situation that we have here in our community," Adolph said. "We really would like to extend our thanks to all the people that were involved with this [investigation]."
Conservation officers will be releasing more information after the autopsy is completed.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Kent Molgat