DNA results have confirmed that the black bear involved in a deadly attack near Lillooet last month has been euthanized by the B.C. Conservation Officer Service.
Saliva found on the clothing of 72-year-old Bernice Evelyn Adolph matches that of a black bear destroyed at the scene by conservation officers on July 9.
Based on the DNA results and evidence collected during the investigation, conservation officers have concluded the bear was responsible for the attack and all traps have been removed from the area.
The BC Coroners Service confirmed last week that the Xaxli'p elder died of a bear attack, which occurred on June 26, four days before her remains were discovered on her remote property. Five bears found in close proximity to the attack site were euthanized over the course of the investigation.
Meanwhile despite being told by conservation officers that his injuries were unrelated to a bear attack, Whistler's Jeffrey Almond is staying the course of his original hypothesis that he was swatted at by a bear in a dense patch of forest in the Bayshore neighbourhood.
"I still feel that is exactly what happened, they looked at my medical records and don't feel what happened to me could have been done by a bear because bear attacks are more gruesome but I think what happened to me was over and done with in seconds," he said from Ontario, where he is recuperating with family.
"But something happened that scared the bear away. The rest of the findings were based on not being able to find bear hair on my clothes, nine days after it happened and they couldn't find any evidence at the site, nine days after it happened. They can't unequivocally say it was a bear attack, but at the same time there is nothing that says it wasn't, in my opinion."
Almond said he was attacked by something, and that his doctors agreed.
"The only thing that makes sense is a bear...that's what seemed right to me and still seems right even after this. A dog or a cat isn't going to slice my hand open down to the bone."
After Almond and his doctors pieced together the suspected bear attack from his injuries, Sea to Sky conservation officers concluded the incident was not related to a bear.
"The Conservation Officer Service interviewed the victim, we examined medical records and looked at physical evidence and based on this, the conservation officers did not find any evidence of a bear attack and that the victim could not remember anything about a bear attack," said Conservation Officer Brittany Mueller. "We're still working on a few more things but it's pretty much finished from what we've concluded. There wasn't any evidence supporting that."
Almond is unable to remember what occurred when he cut through a dense patch of woods near his Bayshore's home in the wee hours of Wednesday, June 29. Upon waking in his bed with a considerable head injury and a badly damaged hand, the 34-year-old chef sought medical attention.
Doctors discovered he had sustained a slight skull fracture, brain bleed, and scratches behind his ear and to his face. Another wound on his hand, which had to be repaired with plastic surgery, severed muscles and matched the marks on his cheek, leading to the assumption that the injury came from Almond trying to block his face during a bear attack.
Black bear attacks are extremely rare. Typically, attacks are a defensive response to protect cubs, food or territory. Predatory attacks are exceptionally rare.
While most conflicts begin when people allow bears to access non-natural food sources, this was not an issue in this case. The property was well maintained and there was no evidence of bear attractants such as food and garbage.
The public is encouraged to report wildlife that poses a risk to public safety to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service 24-hour call centre at 1 877 952-7277 (RAPP) toll free, or #7277 on cellphones.