si-cgy-wolf-fed-humans

Parks Canada distributed this picture, taken by a visitor, of a wolf-feeding incident. Visitors had pulled over and were apparently feeding the wolf rice cakes. (Andrea Rapcewicz)

With a spiking wildlife death toll, Parks Canada is asking visitors to the mountains to drive carefully and refrain from feeding the animals.

Seven black bears have been killed this year by speeding vehicles on roads in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay, officials said.

Because of last winter’s record snowfall in the mountains and the subsequently late spring melt, black bears and wolves are still in the valley bottoms looking for food, sometimes close to highways.

"Our dedicated staff work hard to minimize collisions with wildlife, but we cannot act alone — we really need the public’s help," said resource conservation manager Rick Kubian.

The bear strikes have all occurred on stretches of road that have not been twinned or fenced, Parks Canada said.

Officials are also concerned about increased reports of people approaching and feeding wildlife in the mountain parks.

"Feeding wildlife can lead to habituation, causing animals to lose their wariness of humans and increasing the risk of accidents," officials said.