Three people, including a teen boy, were attacked and injured by a black bear during a hike in British Columbia, Canada.
The family of four was hiking along the Wolverine Trail near Dawson Creek, after sunset Monday, when the incident occurred, as per a statement by the B.C. Conservation Officer Service (COS).
While they were on the trail, the family encountered a black bear that charged at them. When they turned and started running away, the bear chased after them and attacked one woman. Another woman and the teen were injured when they tried to help the first victim, Global News reported.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in Dawson Creek said paramedics and officers responded to a report of two people aged 30 and 48 who were attacked and unaccounted for.
During the search, two RCMP officials found the victims in a bush, with the huge boar black bear strolling around them. It appeared that the bear was guarding the two women, the officials revealed, before the animal was fatally shot in order to rescue the injured victims.
“Several attempts were made to scare the bear off, however, it remained and would not leave the vicinity of the victims,” RCMP said in a press release. “Officers believed the bear to be guarding the victims, so discharged a rifle, striking the bear and killing it.”
Officers then secured the victims and transported them out of the trail network. One victim was airlifted to a nearby hospital, while the other two victims were taken to another medical facility for treatment, as per CBC News.
No other bears were located in the area, and the deceased animal, a male bear, was scheduled for a necropsy. The area was closed to the public and an investigation was underway, the COS said.
“Avoid hiking on trails in the backcountry during sunrise and sunset, which is when most animals will be most active,” the RCMP warned.
In a separate incident, a 9-year-old boy was mauled by a bear in Alaska on Sept. 20. when he was hunting for a moose with a 41-year-old family member. As they came across the bear, it lunged at the young boy and attacked him before the adult male managed to shoot the animal.