Mother Bear Of A “Rare” White-Headed Cub Killed By Train

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Banff National Park in Canada has about 65 grizzly bears living in the park. Among these grizzly bears is a mother of a rare white-headed cub. She was struck by a Canadian Pacific Railway train on a rail line through the Alberta park on September 3rd, 2020. Unfortunately, her injuries were fatal and she did not survive.

The mother bear, identified as No. 143, is well-known by wildlife experts in charge of the park’s activity. They say the bear was used to being spotted with her two cubs, including a rare blond-headed and brown-bodied one. All three were last seen in the park earlier this summer.

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Why the mother bear was on that part of the track and why it didn’t hear the train coming is still unknown. Investigations show that the bear may have used the train rail as a travel route. Also, the recent strong winds and water in this location may not have helped the mother bear to hear the train.

“Mortalities occurred in the past more frequently where trains were travelling faster, where the track was close to water. It’s attractive for bears to travel on the tracks under those circumstances … and it’s hard to get off of the track quickly,” Cassady St. Clair told CBC Canada.

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As for the two cubs, no one saw them again since earlier this summer. One of them was last spotted early June, while the other one was seen in the park on August 15th, 2020.

“Both are believed to have perished prior to this incident. We’ve searched the area thoroughly. But we feel that the cubs did not survive,” Dwight Bourdin, the resource conservation manager said.