Grizzly Bear Kills French-Canadian Man Gathering Nature Sounds in Northwest Territories

By Samuel Allegri

A grizzly bear attacked and killed a French-Canadian man last week in a far-removed area of Canada.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police was notified by a distress signal in the Northwest Territories on the Tulita area of the Mackenzie River, an area that can only be accessed by sea or air.

Julien Gauthier, a musician who was dedicated to gathering sounds, was traveling down the Mackenzie River recording nature sounds for a project.

The 44-year-old musician/soundman was attacked by the bear while he was sleeping in a very rare incident. Unprovoked grizzly bears usually don’t attack people, according to conservation officers, reported the BBC.

Camille Toscani, a biologist who was traveling with Gauthier, sent out the distress signal saying that he had been taken away by a grizzly bear during the night.

The police reportedly dispatched a helicopter to search for Gauthier and move the travelers to safety.

Gauthier posted about the project he was engaged in on the crowdfunding platform, having raised about $1,200. He grew up in Canada but moved to France when he was 19.

“It was his dream to go there, to go to the North,” Toscani told the Le Parisien. “He had asked me to take part in this adventure, we had been thinking about it for three years. We were so happy to get to do it. He was a unique artist, inspired by open spaces and nature.”

He had recently posted about the trip on his Facebook page:

“In Red, the canoe course we will start, with my friend ‘Kerguelenienne’ Camille Toscani, next Friday morning… about 1,500 kilometers (from Fort Providence to inuvik), which we hope to succeed in doing in Thirty days to go. I admit I still have a little trouble to realize that in a few days we’ll be there. There are still a lot of preparations for this adventure, in which we will sometimes spend several days away from any civilization, and therefore for which we expect almost total autonomy, knowing that there will be few supply points on the course,” said Gauthier.

Since 2017, Gauthier had been working with the Brittany Symphony Orchestra.

The manager of the Brittany Symphony Orchestra mourned his death on Facebook:

“I am deeply saddened to announce the passing of our road companion, the composer and associate artist of the symphonic orchestra of Brittany, Julien Gauthier. He went on the Mackenzie River in the great Canadian North to collect sounds and photograph this land that is still little touched by man. He was accompanied by Camille Toscani, a researcher he had met at the islands,” wrote Marc Feldman.

“He was a sensitive, generous and talented man that many of us had the chance to know by his work and the gift of his friendship. His work was faithful to his curious spirit, humble in front of the vast power and beauty of nature. First of all, he wanted to transmit by his music to the public his love and respect for nature.”

“On a personal note, I am extremely happy to have known Julien. He brought me a sense of adventure, wonder and a rare intelligence. I’m gonna miss him terribly. We still had so much way to go together,” wrote Feldman.

Gauthier’s last post on Facebook gave his friends an update, saying that he had been recording sounds of all kinds and seen 4 bears and all kinds of birds, plus a wolf that was in their proximity. He also said that he had already recorded some very important sounds, and that the short trip was “intense, tiring, and inspiring.”