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Alberta Man Killed in Suspected Bear Attack

Dr. David Lertzman was reported missing after leaving home on a run in the Waiparous

A 59-year-old man was found dead near Waiparous Creek, northwest of Calgary, just after 2 a.m. on Wednesday. Officials believe his death was the result of a bear attack.

Friends identified the victim as Dr. David Lertzman, an assistant professor of environmental management and sustainable development at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business. He taught graduate and undergraduate courses on leadership and sustainable development with Indigenous peoples, and ran wilderness retreat courses in Kananaskis.

Cochrane RCMP were notified of a missing person Tuesday night after Lertzman didn’t return from his run, which he left for a 6 p.m. Police searched with a helicopter and K9 unit, and found Lertzman just off Moss Trail, which has been closed for an investigation.

Lertzman has been a big influence for many in the Rockies outdoor community, and his loss is felt by countless outdoor enthusiasts in the province. On April 21, he posted a video online in which he said, “I’m greeting you from the eastern slopes of Canada’s Rocky Mountains in southern Alberta… This is my temple, it’s the dojo. Folks, if you have a dream, if you have the drive, the determination, sincere questing spirit, fierceness and the humility, this is the place to do it. You can achieve just about anything.”

Wildlife officers are searching for the bear, as Alberta Fish and Wildlife is working with RCMP and the medical examiner’s office to determine the cause of death.

“He was really a beautiful, unique, marvellous human being,” Jim Dewald, dean of the Haskayne School of Business told the Calgary Herald. “Professors will spend their entire career in the hopes that one day a student or graduate will come and say, ‘what you taught me changed my life.’ That happened every single time he ran his course.”

Parks Canada advises people in the backcountry to make noise, watch for fresh signs of bear activity, use marked paths and trails, and always carry bear spray and know how to use it.

“We offer our sincere condolences to the family and the community of Waiparous Creek,” Fish and Wildlife said in a statement. Our condolences to Lertzman’s family and friends.

Spring 2020 Waiparous Hike