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CA AB: Human food conditioned wolf euthanized for public safety reasons

Marie Conboy

Parks Canada wildlife officials said they first became aware of a young, emaciated, male wolf on Sunshine Road three weeks ago, after Sunshine Village staff reported several wolf sightings, and in response, Parks Canada conducted regular patrols of the area and asked local workers to immediately report any sightings or incidents.

Parks Canada issued a statement on Wednesday saying team members spotted the wolf entering a storage building, and approaching people on July 6.

“Subsequent investigations suggested the animal had been in the area during the previous week, seeking human food and any available garbage. Given this behaviour, the wolf presented a risk to public safety so Parks Canada team members captured and collared the wolf to assess its body condition and monitor its behaviour.”

Parks Canada wildlife officials determined that unfortunately, “due to the wolf’s excessive level of habituation and human food conditioning, to humanely euthanized the wolf to ensure public safety.”

Parks said the action was taken after carefully considering all other options for keeping this animal on the landscape.

“This was a very difficult decision for Parks Canada team members, who work hard to protect these animals and the ecosystems they live in.

:Parks Canada team members work hard to prevent unfortunate situations such as this by using a wide range of tools including educating park visitors and residents, providing bear-proof food garbage bins and food storage facilities, researching and monitoring of wildlife, and increasing compliance and enforcement efforts.”

In a separate incident, on July 5, Parks Canada wildlife officials received a report from the Egypt Lake backcountry campground, where a wolf entered two tents, removed an empty backpack from one tent, and may have obtained unsecured food or garbage from another campsite. In response, Parks Canada closed three backcountry campgrounds in the Egypt Lake area and posted a wolf warning for the surrounding trails. At this time, Parks Canada team members do not know if these two wolf incidents are related. Parks Canada wildlife officials and enforcement officers continue to investigate these incidents.

In a third incident, on July 5, Parks Canada wildlife officials responded to a report of a wolf on the TransCanada Highway east of Banff. This animal was seen later that day near the Two Jack Canal on the Minnewanka Loop Road. On July 6, the same animal was spotted on Banff Avenue. This animal has shown bold behaviour and approached vehicles with dogs.  In response, a separate wolf warning has been issued for the Town of Banff, Minnewanka Loop, and Tunnel Mountain areas. Parks Canada said they continuing to monitor this situation.

“It is important to note that the wolf packs that live in and travel through Banff National Park continue to remain healthy. Wolves, like many animals in Banff National Park, have learned how to exist in proximity of humans but the key to their survival is in our hands,” read a statement from Justin Brisbane,Public Relations and Communications Officer with the Banff Field Unit.

Parks Canada reminds all visitors and backcountry campers to stay alert, keep food and garbage secure, never feed wildlife, do not litter, and give wildlife space. Backcountry campers can keep attractants secure in the bear-proof lockers provided at approved backcountry campsites. Everyone is asked to please report ALL wolf sightings to Banff Dispatch at 403-762-1470, and respect all warnings and closures.