Parks Canada is reminding visitors to be mindful of their safety in Banff National Park as the bears are waking up from their winter hibernation.

Bear 122, known to locals as "The Boss," was captured on a wildlife camera Thursday near Castle Junction. 

Parks Canada staff believe he is the first bear to officially emerge from hibernation, although bears have been seen outside their dens as early as February because of the warm weather.

Officials expect smaller bears, including females and cubs, to start emerging over the next few weeks.

"People need to remember that at this time of year bears are waking up hungry, so the animals are focused on finding food," said spokesperson Tania Peters in an email. 

"When out enjoying the park, people need to follow safe travel practices while in bear country. Remember to travel in groups and make noise, keep dogs on leash, carry bear spray and know how to use it."

Parks Canada is asking anyone who does encounter wildlife in the area to contact Banff Dispatch at 1-403-762-1470 or stop in at the closest Parks Canada information centre. They would like to know the type of animal, approximate size and colour and if it had any identifiers like a collar or ear tag. 

More information on bears and how to keep them and yourself safe can be found on the Banff National Park website.