WHITEHORSE — Tests will be performed on the body of a grizzly bear to try to find out why it killed a woman and her 10-month-old daughter in Yukon earlier this week.
Environment Yukon spokeswoman Roxanne Stasyszyn says it’s hoped the examination will offer some clues about what motivated the grizzly to attack Valerie Theoret and her baby on Monday near their cabin northeast of Mayo.
The 37-year-old woman’s partner was returning to the cabin and was charged by the bear, but he shot and killed it before discovering the bodies.
Experts have offered a number of theories for the attack, ranging from the mother accidentally surprising the grizzly at close quarters to the possibility that the bruin was injured, ill or intended to attack and prey on the victims.
Stasyszyn says Environment Yukon, the coroner’s service and the RCMP continue to investigate.
A memorial for Theoret and her baby, Adele Roesholt, was scheduled for Thursday at the Association Franco-Yukonnaise in Whitehorse.
Theoret taught French immersion at a local elementary school and was active in the association and the Whitehorse community.
A retired bear biologist has said, under most conditions, bears in the North are normally hibernating by now, but Stasyszyn says it’s not unusual to see active bears in November, December or even January.
“The climate impacts that, and we are having quite a mild winter at the moment, so it’s not unusual to see bears out at this time,” she said.
Stasyszyn did not comment on when or where the examination, called a necropsy, will take place, but she said Environment Yukon is committed to providing more details as soon as the investigation concludes. (CKRW, The Canadian Press)