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DAWSON CREEK, B.C. — Friends and family of the two victims of a bear attack in the Dawson Creek area say it will be a long recovery process for the two women.

GoFundMes were created for each victim to cover medical costs and any additional costs the families need during the healing process.

On the evening of October 3rd, two women were attacked by a bear on the Bear Mountain Cross Country Ski Club trails.

As of October 5th, Analyn Shurtliff (or Bartolome as she is also known) is in Vancouver in serious but stable condition, according to DeAnna Wry, a family friend who created a GoFundMe.

Shurtliff still has a 50 per cent chance of losing her arm, said Wry.

“This is not gonna be a short recovery process,” Wry said.

“This is going to be a very, very long recovery process for these women. They were pretty severely injured. I think that cannot be downplayed.”

She adds that once the hospital stays are over, there will likely be extensive physiotherapy for both women, lasting months to years.

“Both women are very, incredibly lucky to be alive.”

A fundraiser was created for Leosette Canoy, also known as Cheng, by her niece Wennali Canoy.

Cheng is in the Edmonton Royal Alexandra Hospital in critical condition, according to a fundraising page.

Wry explains that the women went to two different hospitals because of the extent of their injuries.

“They were gonna require a pretty large surgical team to take care of them,” she added.

On Wednesday morning, Shurtliff was awake and talking.

“They did a Zoom call last night, and she was able to talk with her children,” Wry said.

“That was a really important thing to her because one of them was there for the attack.”

Shurtliff’s son received bruised ribs from the attack and was cleared from the hospital.

“[He received] only scratches from hitting the ground,” Wry added.

Wry says Shurtliff is an outdoorswoman who was out that evening to look for places to take fall photos.

Wry wants to dispel some of the rumours and answer some of the questions that have come up since the attack.

“I did see some comments of people saying that first responders were delayed. That is incorrect,” she said.

She says the trails are not the “typical” flat cross-country ski trails.

“If you’ve never hiked up there, it’s actually a pretty decent hike. There are lots of trails. It can get confusing when you’re in it,” Wry said.

“So this is some of the other reasons that it took a little longer for them to find them in the first place because you’re out there in the dark, and you’re looking for a bear that’s aggressive and attacking. It’s not a simple thing.”

She says the family is “bear aware” and were likely not being quiet on the trails.

“They know better. They are bear aware. And that’s the thing in this attack, this was not a typical bear,” Wry added.

“This was not typical bear behaviour. This is not something that happens. Black bears do not attack a group of four people. That’s virtually unheard of for them to do that.”

On Monday, two officers on UTV located the victims critically injured, lying in the bush with a large boar black bear lingering nearby.

Several attempts were made to scare the bear off. However, it remained and would not leave the vicinity of the victims.

RCMP officers believed the bear to be guarding the victims, so they discharged a rifle, striking the bear and killing it.

Ellie Lamb, director of community outreach for the Get Bear Smart Society, says the attack was a rare example of a bear treating humans as food, and the officers were left with no choice but to kill the bear.

The victims were then secured and transported out of the trail network to waiting paramedics, after which they were medi-vacced with serious life-threatening injuries.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service says it will release an update on its investigation into the attack at a later date.

Wry says the trail the group was on is well-used.

“This summer, there’s been quite a few people that have been up and hiking… It smells like people,” she said.

Following the attack, Wry says Shurtliff’s husband was shocked and surprised at how many people had reached out to him — people he hadn’t spoken to in a long time.

He wanted to ensure that the children were cared for before he went to be with his wife.

Wry adds that a local charity is donating food hampers to both families so the children will be taken care of.

Shurtliff’s husband plans to join her in the coming days.

Wry wanted to acknowledge the help of Dawson Creek Victim Services and the officer who arrived on scene and shot the bear.

“Kudos to him for handling it as well as he did,” she said.

“He kept his composure. He was taking statements, and he was having a really hard time with it, but he made sure that Analyn’s son and Wennali were taken care of.”

Wry wants to remind residents of safety tips on hiking in the area.

“You have to be bear aware. This gives you a sobering reminder of, be aware, be prepared,” she said.

“Make sure you have your phone with you; make sure you have the ability to get help. Don’t go hiking alone… Tell someone where you’re going.”

Shurtliff’s GoFundMe can be found here, and Cheng’s can be found here.

At the time of writing, Shurtliff’s fund is sitting at $8,300, and Cheng’s is at $5,910.

With files from Canadian Press.

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Shailynn Foster

Shailynn Foster is a news reporter for energeticcity.ca. Shailynn has been writing since she was 7 years old, but only recently started her journey as a journalist. Shailynn was born and raised in Fort St. John and she watches way too much YouTube, Netflix and Disney+ during the week while playing DND on the weekends.