French composer for the Brittany Symphony Orchestra Julien Gauthier is dead following a sudden encounter with a bear while gathering sounds for a music project in the Northwest Territories.
“His work was faithful to his curious spirit, humble in front of the vast power and beauty of nature. He wanted to transmit through his music, to the public, his love and respect for nature,” Orchestra director Marc Feldman said.
“Gauthier was travelling with a biologist, Camille Toscani, on an expedition in sparsely populated north-west Canada, recording new sounds for his work. The pair had planned to travel from Fort Providence to Inuvik, two towns separated by more than 1,000 miles of wilderness, in 30 days,” reports The Guardian.
Police are yet to publicly identify the victim, but friends have already began paying their respects for their beloved friend on social media.
According to chief coroner Cathy Menard, Gauthier’s body has been transferred to Edmonton to undergo autopsy and confirm the cause of death. However, wildlife officials are already counting the incident as the fourth bear-related fatality in the Northwest Territories in the last 20 years.
“Human-bear encounters in the Northwest Territories are not out of the ordinary, although fatalities are rare,” says Environment and Natural Resources spokesperson Meagan Wohlberg.
According to the CBC, two bears believed to have been involved in the attack have been killed. Necropsies conducted by the N.W.T. Coroner Service will determine whether the two bears were, in fact, involved in the death of Gauthier.