A well-known grizzly sow hasn’t shown up at her usual stomping grounds around Lake Louise this season and is presumed dead.
Bear 72 has been missing all year and her radio collar has been stationary for months.
The 22-year-old bear was the matriarch grizzly of the Lake Louise area.
“I think she’s actually one of our greatest success stories,” said Brianna Burley, a human-wildlife conflict specialist with Parks Canada, “she is an adult grizzly bear that made it to maturity, that had multiple sets of cubs and was able to survive on that really dynamic landscape that is the Bow Valley.”
Bear 72 taught park staff how grizzlies could tolerate humans in close proximity- navigating roads, railways and the outskirts of townsites.
The bear spent time on the fringes of Lake Louise where she raised her cubs, and Burley says some of them have gone on to use the same areas.
“Her cubs keep us on our toes,” said Burley.
The average life of a grizzly bear is 25-years so it’s possible she died from old age.
Burley says Bear 72’s travel patterns were fairly consistent so it’s unlikely she simply lost her tracking collar and is roaming around somewhere else.