BANFF — A female grizzly bear has been killed by a Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. train.
It happened on Thursday at 12:15 a.m. on tracks west of Banff, Alta.
Parks Canada staff had been tracking the bear and say it was four-and-a-half years old.
Officials searched the tracks and say no grain was found in the area, but snow and limited food at high elevations have forced the bears to forage in the lower valley areas.
Bears have been known to be hit by trains while they are on the tracks eating grain.
Parks Canada says CP has done work to reduce bear mortality on the tracks, including a rule that train crews must blow whistles in the area where the bear was hit to warn wildlife.
Park officials say five grizzly bears have been hit by trains in the same area since 2007.
This latest death comes just days after a female grizzly was shot and killed near Mountainview, Alta.
On Thursday, wildlife officers relocated her three orphaned cubs to a wilderness area north of the Crowsnest Pass.
Fish and Wildlife officer Lyle Lester said the female grizzly was not causing any problems and her shooting is a big disappointment.
“This particular sow, she’s been a pretty good momma,” said Lester, who has been monitoring the family of bears.
“She’s kept her kids away from farmyards, they haven’t been getting into any trouble in terms of bothering livestock.”
However, soon after the female adult was spotted limping by area residents, the hungry cubs started showing up in yards, even eating dog food off the deck of one home.
Wildlife officers investigated and found the mother had been so badly injured by a gunshout wound that she had to be destroyed.
“She was hurting, she was suffering,” said Lester.
“Her left back leg was shattered.”
Area rancher Kirk Hinch said there was no reason for anyone to shoot the bear.
“I saw her close to my herds one day and she just walked right by them and never even turned her head toward them,” he said.
“I think she was just a good bear. Basically, by shooting her you orphan three clubs that are more than likely going to die anyway.”
Wildlife officers are still looking for suspects in the shooting.