BANFF, Alta. — A couple of young tourists from Ontario managed to get away safely after doing nearly everything wrong in their encounter with a grizzly bear in Banff National Park.
Hilary Grant and her friend were on a hike when they spotted a female grizzly from a distance.
Grant, who captured the encounter on her cell phone, says they didn't know what to do so they ducked into the forest and got down on the ground.
But the grizzly, known to Parks Canada as Bear 148, moved in to investigate and at one point was just metres away.
While Grant kept the camera going and the pair whispered in excitement, the bear eventually moved on.
Experts say trying to hide from a bear isn't a great idea; it's better to keep a distance and quietly back away as soon as you can so as to avoid an encounter.
Grant admits she had no idea what the right thing to do was.
"Do we just lie down, or, like, do we climb trees?'' Grant recalled in an interview with CTV Calgary. "I'm, like, I can't climb a tree. I'm, like, we're going to be eaten and we ate so much bacon that day. So, like, she's totally going to kill us.''
Steve Michel, a wildlife specialist with Banff National Park, says things could have ended badly if the bear had cubs or was looking for a meal, something they're doing a lot of in a poor buffalo berry season.
"The best thing you can do if you see a bear at a distance is continue to give it as much space as possible, to turn around and make different plans for the day.''
Michel notes that recently a grizzly known to locals as Split Lip ate a smaller grizzly, though its not known if Bear 136 actually killed its peer or just feasted on its remains.
"Grizzly bears are very opportunistic so they will eat any kind of food source that they can,'' says Michel.
Grant says if nothing else, she's glad to managed to film the frightening encounter.
"I said if I ever see a bear and I'm going to get attacked, it better be on video.''
Meanwhile, officials have confirmed that a bear which attacked a couple of unoccupied vehicles in Kananaskis Village has been destroyed.
The 23-year-old grizzly known as Bear 88 is also believed responsible for trying to break into several trailers at the Mount Kidd RV Park last week.
One of the vehicles damaged by the bear needed more than $5,000 in repairs.
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