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Canada

Hunter shoots grizzly bear in Yukon, only to find it had already killed fur-designer wife and their baby

  • Trapper Gjermund Roesholt shot the bear dead in Canada’s remote Yukon when it charged him
  • But when he returned to his cabin, he found his wife Valerie Theoret and infant daughter Adele Roesholt dead outside
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 November, 2018, 4:28am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 November, 2018, 12:00am

A young mother and her 10-month-old daughter have been killed by a grizzly bear metres from their cabin in Canada’s Yukon territory.

Valerie Theoret, 37, and their daughter Adele Roesholt, were killed on Monday near Einarson Lake, a remote area 400km from the territory’s capital of Whitehorse.

Theoret, a grade six French immersion teacher at Whitehorse junior school, was on maternity leave with her child.

She and husband Gjermund Roesholt had planned to spend some of those months on their trap line – a large parcel of land leased from the government to trap animals for fur.

The couple’s website describes Roesholt as an outdoor guide and mapping consultant, and Theoret as a designer of artisanal fur products. Adele is also featured on the site, wrapped in orange fox fur.

Roesholt had gone out to check the couple’s traps on Monday afternoon, but on his way back, he was charged by the bear, 100 metres from the couple’s cabin.

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He shot and killed the bear, but when he reached the cabin, he found that it had already killed his partner and their daughter.

“Upon returning to the cabin, he found the bodies of his wife and child just outside the cabin,” the coroner’s report said. It is believed the pair had been out for a walk – either late morning or early afternoon – when they were attacked by the same bear.

Roesholt, a lifelong hunter and trapper, set off an emergency beacon, alerting first responders in the village of Mayo.

“It’s a big, big blow. Everybody is totally devastated right now,” friend Remy Beaupre told the CBC. “Lots of our friends are gathering tonight to mourn a little bit and support each other a little bit.”

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About 7,000 grizzly bears live in the Yukon, but such deadly encounters are rare: the last fatal bear attack in the territory was in 2006.

Grizzly bears will typically hibernate between October and April, according to the territorial government, but warmer weather in the territory has led to a number of sightings of bears in recent weeks.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Yukon department of environment are continuing to investigate the deaths.

In a statement, the Yukon department of education said that Theoret would be dearly missed by staff and students.

“We work with the school to identify and address needs. People react to tragic news differently, and at different times. Some people do not feel the full impact for days or weeks,” the statement said.