Grizzly Bear Attack Claims Lives of Adventurous Couple and Pet in Banff National Park


With profound palpable pain and pulling at the strings of sorrow, Colin Inglis recollected the tragic demise of his nephew, Doug Inglis, and his partner, Jenny Gusse. The longtime couple along with their precious pet, Tris, a seven-year-old border collie, succumbed to a lethal attack by a grizzly bear within the isolating wilderness of Banff National Park.

The couple, avid adventurers and devotees of the great outdoors, had embarked on their usual annual backpacking journey, nestled in the heart of Banff. Gatting by days and camping by nights, the couple religiously kept their family updated and informed about their whereabouts. Thus when Colin received a seemingly reassuring text from their Garmin inReach device, marking their status as ‘delayed but OK’, nothing appeared amiss.

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However, a chilling phone call from the satellite device company shattered the illusion of safety, divulging the grave reality of an SOS activation with a cryptic message reading, ‘Bear attack bad’. Colin instantly comprehended this grim warning to be a harbinger of sinister developments, suggesting an immediate and terrifying encounter with a grizzly bear.

Prompted by the alarming distress signal, Parks Canada dispatched its Wildlife Human Attack Response Team. The forces navigated their way through treacherous landscapes, circumventing adverse weather conditions that negated the use of helicopters. At approximately 1 a.m. on Saturday, their worst fears were confirmed, as they discovered the lifeless bodies of the ill-fated couple.

Upon investigation, the determined team encountered an elderly, underweight female grizzly bear, exhibiting signs of aggression. A necropsy revealed the 25-year-old creature had poor dental health; DNA samples confirmed her as the assailant. The rogue bear was unknown to park officials, with no prior records of tracking or tagging. As to the trigger for her attack, the officials remain wary of conjecturing, leaving the reasons steeped in a shroud of uncertainty.

Inglis, however, attributed the misfortune to a tragic medley of an unpredictable occurrence met with wrong timing. He reinforced that the couple was seasoned in managing such endeavors, with appropriate food storage and defensively equipped with bear spray. Their characteristic routine of setting up camp before dusk ensured that they weren’t caught off-guard during their nightly readings in the tent.

Though the desperate struggle for survival was evident from an emptied bear spray canister and the visible signs of resistance, the rogue grizzly prevailed. The ill-starred lovers were found outside their crushed tent, clad solely in their stockings. The parting image bearer to their undying tandem since the days of their academic companionship at the University of Alberta. Their love story traced back to where they first met as students, culminating in years of working together at the same lab for Agriculture Canada in Lethbridge, thus threading their academic, professional, and personal lives seamlessly together.

As grieving family members come to terms with their loss, Parks Canada reassures the public of the rarity of such fatal bear encounters. Over the last decade, Banff National Park, which houses both grizzly bears and black bears and is among Canada’s busiest national parks, has recorded only three non-fatal incidents with grizzly bears and no fatalities.

In the midst of trembling trails and grief-stricken memories of adventurous hikes, Banff National Park stands a grim testament to a tragic encounter, reflecting the unpredictable twists of nature’s narrative.