BRITISH COLUMBIA

Grizzly Attacks Fernie Hikers

07/04/2013 02:55 EDT | Updated 07/04/2013 02:57 EDT
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Conservation officers are on the hunt for a grizzly bear that attacked two hikers near Fernie after she became "very defensive" of her cub.

The men were hiking along a ridge on Mount Proctor Wednesday when the mother bear attacked , The Fernie Free Press reported.

One hiker discharged pepper spray into the bear's face, causing it to retreat briefly before it returned to attack the other man, chewing on his arms and chest, Conservation Officer Sgt. Joe Caravetta told The Vancouver Sun.

The second hiker then pulled out a gun and shot the bear at close range before it fled into the forest with her cub.

The bear was just trying to protect her cub at the time, Caravetta said.

The men arrived at a nearby hospital. One was released and the other was airlifted to a treatment centre in Lethbridge, CBC News reported.

Conservation officers are now trying to locate the bear and have closed off the Fairy Creek Proctor Mountain Bike and Hiking trail until it is found.

"If it’s suffering we will put it out of its misery. We don’t want an animal to suffer," Caravetta told The Vancouver Sun.

This isn't the first time that a grizzly has attacked in B.C.'s wilderness.

A grizzly sent an Alaska man to hospital while he was fishing near Houston in northern B.C. last November. Conservation officers said that bear was also with a cub at the time.

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