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CA AB: Warnings, closures in Banff National Park after ‘bold’ wolves seen approaching cars, entering tents

Olivia Condon

“Bold” wolf behaviour in Banff National Park has promoted closures and warnings across the region.

On Tuesday, Parks Canada issued a warning for the entire Banff townsite after wolves were seen “approaching vehicles and seeking human food rewards” in the park, the statement read.

The warning covers the town of Banff, Tunnel Mountain, Fairmont Banff Springs golf course, Minnewanka Loop, Johnson Lake Reservoir and Cascade Ponds.

Justin Brisbane with Parks Canada said they first became aware of a “young, emaciated male wolf on Sunshine Road three weeks ago” after Sunshine Village staff reported multiple sightings.

Parks staff located the wolf entering a storage building and captured and collared him to assess his condition. After an examination and due to the wolf’s “excessive level of habituation and human food conditioning,” the decision was made to euthanize the animal.

“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,” Brisbane said.

Special caution is also recommended when travelling in the following areas: Healy Lower Parking at Sunshine Slabs to the Sunshine Ski Area, Sunshine Ski Area to Red Earth Trailhead via Shadow Lake and Pharaoh Creek, and Borgeau Trailhead to Healy Meadows.

In a separate incident, reports came in from the Egypt Lake Campground that a wolf had entered two tents prompting Parks Canada to extended the warning and issue the closure of Pharaoh Creek Campground, Healy Creak Campground and Egypt Lake Campground.

In a third incident wildlife officials responded to a report of a wolf spotted on the Trans-Canada Highway east of Banff. The same animal was seen later in the day near the Two Jack Canal on the Minnewanka Loop Road. The next day the same wolf was spotted on Banff Avenue.

“It is important to note that the wolf packs that live in and travel through Banff National Park continue to remain healthy,” Brisbane said. “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. This is why it’s important for residents and visitors to remember that they share the surrounding habitat with wildlife and take the necessary steps to keep themselves and wildlife safe.”

Parks Canada issued the following cautions to people in the area:

  • Never approach, entice or feed wildlife.
  • Ensure all food, garbage and pet food are stored inside a building or vehicle.
  • Supervise children and keep pets on a leash at all times.
  • If you are approached by a wolf, act aggressively to discourage it from approaching.
  • Carry bear spray and know how to use it.

If you see a wolf, immediately report the sighting to Banff Dispatch at 403-762-1470.