CALGARY - Officials have closed part of Banff National Park after a grizzly bear attacked and killed a small dog as it walked with its owner.
The attack happened Thursday when the owner of a Jack Russell terrier encountered the adult bear in the Skoki Valley area near Lake Louise.
The pooch was on a leash when the bruin attacked, said officials.
The bear, whose sex has not yet been determined, was not tagged or collared and was previously unknown to wildlife officials.
Brianna Burley, a human-wildlife conflict specialist with Parks Canada, said attacks like this are rare.
"We don't see a lot of encounters like this."
Burley said backcountry campgrounds have been closed "to give the bear some space."
The trails in the Skoki Valley area, including Skoki Lodge National Historic Site, have been shut down as well.
Wildlife officials will continue to monitor the bear and its behaviour and movement over the coming days.
Although attacks are rare, as bruins generally prefer to avoid people, visitors are urged to take necessary precautions when in the backcountry, including carrying and knowing how to use bear spray, said officials.
"Parks Canada asks that visitors consider leaving their dogs at home when hiking in the mountain national parks."
Campgrounds in Merlin Meadows, Red Deer Lake, Hidden Lake and Baker Lake, have been closed.
The trails in and around the campgrounds have also been shut due to bear activity in the area.
Officials remind hikers and campers bears are searching for food in preparation for the long winter months.