NEWS

Claudia Huber bear mauling: Grizzly was hungry but not ill

11/14/2014 10:04 EST | Updated 01/14/2015 05:59 EST
Biologists say they don’t know for certain why a grizzly bear mauled Claudia Huber last month outside her home on the South Canol Road near Teslin, Yukon.

The results of a necropsy that were announced Thursday night at a community meeting in Teslin show the bear was hungry, but not ill, when it entered Huber’s home through a window, and pursued the woman and her husband outside on Oct. 19.

Ramona Maraj, a carnivore biologist with Environment Yukon, says the bear was likely over 25 years old. It was thinner than normal and might have approached the cabin looking for food.  

“He had fat on him, but he had less fat than is normal for this time of year.”

Maraj says there’s some evidence the bear had been exposed to human food, but no prior incidents involving the animal had been reported. 

She says they may never know for certain what caused the mauling.

“Disease testing showed there was really no health issues. Basically the bear was an older bear, and everything we found was in accordance with it being an older bear.”

Huber ran a wilderness tourism company with her husband, Matthias Liniger.

Sandy Smarch, a hunter and trapper, and member of the Teslin Tlingit Council, says members of the community are still on edge, especially because the attack was so unusual.   

“People are freaked out about bears right now,” Smarch says. “I spoke with some ladies who are afraid to go to their garage.”

Conservation officers at Thursday night’s meeting tried to remind people that bear attacks are rare.

However, they still recommend carrying bear spray.

They also agreed to one suggestion — that officers teach bear safety in local schools.

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