By Daniel Katz, Bow Valley Crag & Canyon
As we get closer to Halloween, residents are being asked by Parks Canada to keep pumpkins indoors as they could pose an attractant to wildlife.
Deer and elk are especially attracted to the tasty treats, and there is the potential that wolves and bears might become endeared to your jack-o-lanterns as well.
“Parks Canada is requesting that residents not place pumpkins, or candy, or potential food attractants outside,” said Eric Knight, resource management supervisor with the Banff field unit.
“Pumpkins, as well as candy and other food attractants, have the potential attract wildlife into the townsite.”
Drawing in animals to the town can cause negative human-wildlife interactions, and Parks Canada is hoping to mitigate those from occurring.
“In the past we’ve definitely had issues with elk and deer feeding on the remains of … pumpkins, and they certainly have the potential to become a food source for bears and wolves, which are naturally opportunistic and curious.”
Knight says there is also a risk that wildlife can become food-conditioned by eating pumpkins that are left outside.
“Given the problems that we’ve had with the Bow Valley wolf pack this year in terms of them accessing unsecured garbage and food, we really want to limit any opportunity for them to access something that could potentially become a food source,” he said.
Residents are encouraged to display their pumpkins indoors in windows, and old pumpkins should be disposed of in Banff’s designated food waste bins.