Victim of fatal bear attack last week near Tulita identified as French tourist

Julien Gauthier from his Facebook page reportedly near Jean Marie River earlier this month

Although the Chief Coroner of the Northwest Territories says she does not yet have confirmation of the identity of a man killed by a bear near the Sahtu community of Tulita last Thursday, he has been named in a published report.

On its website, Cabin Radio says it learned from French media that the victim was Julien Gauthier, 44, and according to a report, he was a French tourist and musician who was in the NWT to record sounds.

CKLB first told the public about the man’s death just hours after he was killed through a connection to a B.C. canoeist who came upon Gauthier’s distraught female friend on the banks of the MacKenzie River, about 50 kilometres south of Tulita.

The canoeist was paddling the MacKenzie with her husband, their two children and two other men when they discovered a frantic female canoeist on the shoreline who told them she’d just watched as a grizzly bear had dragged Gauthier into the woods.

His body was found a day later and Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) officials say they put two bears down in the area – a grizzly and a black bear.

It’s unclear if either bear was responsible for the attack.

Gauthier had posted about his trip on Facebook, just days before he was killed.

“Some news from our expedition with Camille Toscani and some photos after already 5 days of canoe and wild camping (of which 3 without having met soul who lives… apart from 4 Bears 🐻 Quantity Of birds of all kinds, and a trace of wolf that appeared during the night 20 meters below the tent! ) tonight is well-deserved rest (After 1 day of incessant rain) in a small village of about fifty inhabitants, Jean-Marie River, and here there is wifi 😉 landscapes and experience are for The incredible moment, time passes from the burning heat to the cold, in short it’s intense, tiring and inspiring! And already some very important sounds recorded other news next time there is network!”

Officials have also not said how far from the initial bear encounter Gauthier’s body was found.

Those destroyed bears were just two of at least ten problem bears put down in the NWT in just the past week.

Gauthier was the second French traveller to die in the NWT this month.

Thomas Destailleur, 30, died near Hay River while kayaking on Great Slave Lake back on August 7.



About the Author

John McFadden
John has been in the broadcast journalism industry since the 1980s. He has been a reporter in Yellowknife since 2012 and joined CKLB in January of 2018. John covers the crime and court beat as well as reporting on other areas including politics, business, entertainment and sports. He won seven national community newspaper awards while he was a journalist with Northern News Services Limited (NNSL). John worked in Ontario before coming North including stints as a TV sportscaster in Peterborough and senior news writer for CBC and CTV in downtown Toronto.