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Conservation officers give up search for bears involved in Rainy Lake fatality

MNRF says it conducted 'a thorough search' and believes there is no ongoing threat.
Bear WEB
(file photo)

FORT FRANCES, Ont. — The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry called off its search for the two remaining bears involved in last week's fatal mauling of a Minnesota woman.

Catherine Sweatt-Mueller, 62, was killed after she went to check on the safety of her dogs at the family camp on Rainy Lake's Red Pine Island on Sept. 1.

Later the same day, OPP officers shot and killed a bear they found hovering over the woman's remains, one of three bears they saw or heard in the vicinity. 

An OPP spokesperson initially reported that the bear that was shot was a yearling, however the MNRF later confirmed it was an adult female.

Spokesperson Jolanta Kowalski also said Monday the ministry believes "it is likely" the two additional bears were cubs.

Conservation officers were sent to the island to search for the cubs, but were unable to locate them after what Kowalski described as a thorough search.

"The ministry does not believe there is an ongoing threat to public safety. As a result, we are suspending our search for the other bears," she said in a statement to Tbnewswatch.