Parks Canada says it will be watching a pack of wolves near the Banff townsite after three were spotted eating garbage. Officials say they want to make sure this is an isolated incident, not the start of a habitual problem.
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Andrew Hempstead was checking out the newly revamped trail at Johnston Canyon last week when he noticed something moving in the parking lot.
Hempstead got in his minivan, grabbed his camera and realized he'd spotted three wolves.
"They were completely oblivious to me, probably 50 or 60 yards away," Hempstead said.
"They were just feeding on, I couldn't see what they were feeding on, I could just see they were milling around the contractor bins."
Hempstead eventually realized they were eating fast food wrappers and other garbage.
"One of them was the alpha male who was massive. Well, he came right up to about 10 yards from me … and he was sort of walking around the vehicle, trying to get into where I was on top of," he explained.
Hempstead called Parks Canada who arrived in about 15 minutes.
Wildlife ecologist David Gummer says someone must have tossed their garbage into the bin and it fell out.
He hopes it was an isolated incident.
"Over the coming days and weeks we'll be monitoring the wolves behaviour closely to see if they try to seek out garbage or food associated with people, and of course we are crossing our fingers we won't be seeing that kind of behaviour," Gummer said.
He says people should always toss their garbage into bear-proof bins to prevent this type of problem with wildlife.