A Canadian couple fatally attacked by a grizzly bear while camping were well-versed in backcountry hiking and “took every precaution” against predatory wildlife during their backcountry excursions, their friends told The Post.
Jenny Goss and Doug Inglis, both 62, and their dog Skip were mauled to death by a bear on September 29 inside Banff National Park after bear spray failed to thwart the beast.
“I knew Doug and Jenny were planning a trip at that time of year,” Ron Tether, 77, said in an interview Friday.
“I think it was a very desperate bear that took them as food. “He wasn’t interested in their food cache, he was interested in them,” Tether surmised.
The friend, from Ottawa, Canada, said he has gone on several backcountry canoeing trips with Goss and Inglis over the past 20 years.
“Their skill level was very high, and they were conservative. They took every precaution they could,” he said.
Their food was stored away from the campsite and would have been hung on a tree, said Tether, who is also a scientist. In his last conversation with Inglis, his friend told him he had purchased an “animal-proof food pantry.”
“This food cache was bear-proof,” Tether said.
Another friend, 69-year-old Mark Guettel — who met Inglis at the University of Alberta where the latter was his research technician — confirmed to The Washington Post that the pair were highly skilled and “knew exactly what they were doing.”
“He was very careful, every time he was very careful,” Goettl, of Lethbridge, said in a phone interview Friday. “I remember him telling me about camping and how you had to go far to even pee out of your tent. He would tell me all the safety precautions.
The experienced hikers shared their complete seven-day itinerary with Inglis’s uncle Colin Inglis and kept in touch with him through a satellite communicator.
Just a few hours after being told they were late that fateful night, Colin received an alarming message: “Bear attack, bad.” He told the Calgary Herald.
When rescuers arrived at the couple’s campsite, they found the scientists’ mutilated bodies, an empty can of bear spray, and their e-readers still open in their smashed tent.
Rescuers encountered and shot the underweight female bear they believe carried out the attack, as it was still showing signs of aggression.
“In their words, the bear was intent on killing them,” Colin told the Herald.
Inglis’s friends remember him as a “very successful scientist” and “adventurer”, who often biked to work, wore shorts during the colder months, and was “very concerned about the environment”.
“[He] “He was very smart,” Guettel said. “He was one of those guys who got away. He was that kind of guy.”
“Doug was a very hard-working scientist,” Tether said. “It was very successful. Jenny was a very, very good technician and you could rely on her. They worked together for almost their entire adult lives.”
Gothel said Inglis was “always” with Jenny and Teather remembers his friends as “very loyal to each other.”
Tether said he will forever remember the “many fun evenings” he spent with the couple after a long day of paddling and talking about work and future plans.
“Just a lot of cozy evenings,” he said.
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