Valérie Théorêt, 37, and her 10-month-old daughter were killed by a grizzly bear outside their cabin in a remote area on Monday, reported the Guardian. The cabin was located near Einarson Lake, a remote area in Canada’s Yukon territory.
Théorêt taught sixth grade French at an elementary school located in the territory’s capital of Whitehorse and was still on maternity leave. Her partner Gjermund Roesholt was also at the cabin with them when they were attacked.
Roesholt was reportedly out checking the traps when his partner and daughter were killed by the bear. On his way back to the cabin, he was charged by the same bear, several hundred yards from the property. He shot and killed the grizzly but soon discovered that the large animal had already killed Théorêt and his daughter after finding their bodies just outside the cabin. Roesholt then sent out an emergency signal to first responders in the nearby village of Mayo.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Yukon department of environment are currently looking into the deaths of Théorêt and 10-month-old Adele.
A friend close to the family, Rémy Beaupré, spoke to the CBC about the loss.
“It’s a big, big blow. Everybody is totally devastated right now. Lots of our friends are gathering tonight to mourn a little bit and support each other a little bit.”
The Yukon department of education also responded to the news of the death of one of their teachers in a statement.
“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 added that Théorêt would be missed by her students and fellow staff.
While at the cabin, the couple were planning to spend a few months on their trap line, where they trap animals for fur. Their website depicts Roesholt as an outdoor guide and mapping expert while Théorêt was described as a creator of homemade fur products. Baby Adele was also included on their website in a photo in which she’s wearing a fox fur coat.
The presence of grizzly bears during the winter has become more common in the area, writes the Guardian. Although they typically hibernate between the months of October and April, warmer weather has brought them out of hibernation earlier.
It is estimated that around 7,000 grizzly bears live in the territory, however, there hadn’t been a fatal attack since 2006.