Two Canadian women have been gravely injured in a "rare predatory attack" by a black bear on Monday.
Leosette Canoy and her friend, Analyn Shurtliff Bartolome, are in critical condition in the intensive care unit after being mauled by a male black bear who charged them on a walking trail near Dawson Creek, British Columbia during sunset.
Bear was 'Guarding' the Victims as His Next Meal
The group has set out on the walking trail Monday "looking for nice spots to take fall pictures with the autumn leaves" when the bear attacked them.
Canoy's niece, Wenneli Canoy, who was on the walk but wasn't injured, said her aunt was attacked when she rushed to the aid of her friend and tried to scare off the bear. Bartolome's teenage son was also injured trying to fend off the bear. He and Canoy's niece were eventually able to reach safety and call 911.
With darkness coming on, police say two RCMP officers in an all-terrain vehicle found the two women lying in the bush with life-threatening injuries.
Staff Sgt. Damon Werrell, detachment commander of the Dawson Creek RCMP, said the officers shot and killed a large bear nearby that appeared to be standing beside the victims. Officers said the women were found lying in the bush, waiting to be rescued, with the bear "guarding his catch, his next meal."
Victims Suffered Horrific Injuries
Canoy suffered injuries to her arms, head, back and ear, requiring her to undergo surgery for more than six hours."It's horrific to see my wife like that," he said. "The bear chewed her up bad," Canoy's husband said, before adding that he can't even hold his wife's hand since her limbs are severely injured in the attack.
Canoy is recovering in hospital in Edmonton, about 600 kilometres from Dawson Creek, while Bartolome is in Vancouver with severe injuries to the arm, which might have to be amputated.
The Conservation Officer Service investigated the attack site and determined the attack was predatory in nature, something they say is "extremely rare." Following this tragic incident, GoFundMe pages have been set up by both Canoy and Bartolome's families.