Project highlights dangers of Banff wildlife encounters
Canmore photographer working on educational documentary
Posted: Aug 14, 2012 6:33 PM MT
Last Updated: Aug 14, 2012 10:00 PM MT
It's not uncommon to see wildlife on the side of the road in Banff National Park — it's also not uncommon to see people getting out of their vehicles to get close to the animals.
Animals that get accustomed to humans often end up getting killed.
A photographer from Canmore is fed up with the situation. She is making an online documentary to educate people about what getting close to animals means.
'We have an old mantra: a fed bear is a dead bear.'— Steve Michel, Parks Canada
Banff’s mountains, scenery and wildlife drew Ginevre Smith to Banff from Australia three years ago.
“I love to [photograph] the bears, wolves when I find them, moose are really amazing.”
She spends hours cruising in her car searching for precious moments, but she’s often interrupted by “bear jams,” traffic snarls caused when drivers spot wildlife on the side of the road.
“I've seen a crowd of a dozen people with cameras, phones, following and chasing a young black bear down the road, eating berries, a few weeks ago. Standing a metre from elk and pointing cameras in face, flash,” said Smith.
Steve Michel of Parks Canada says there are often reports of tourists feeding the wildlife.Ginevre Smith is a working on an online documentary to help educate people about the costs of getting close to wildlife. (Courtesy Ginevre Smith)
“We have an old mantra, a fed bear is a dead bear. That is very true. Unfortunately, that aggressive behavior when they seek out human food, garbage. It's not safe to have animals like that in Banff National Park.”
The animals often end up being destroyed. Smith says it makes her feel powerless.
“These people don't have common sense, treat animals this way, habituating animals beyond what should really happen,” says Smith. “I wanted to do something about it.”
She's is making an online documentary that will teach tourists how to behave around wildlife before they even arrive in Banff. She hopes tour companies will run it on their websites, maybe even their shuttle buses.
Michel agrees public awareness is everything. He says Parks Canada has been spreading the message for years, but says it's impossible to reach all of the more than three million visitors Banff Natinal Park has each year.
“People are very excited when they come here and certainly very excited when they get to see wild animal, which is probably the dream of their trip,” says Michel.
“Sometimes common sense goes out the window when they get that opportunity to see the wildlife."
Smith hopes her documentary will help keep at least some of the tourists grounded. She plans to film it over the next few months and release it in the spring.
Latest Calgary News Headlines
- Calgary's new school construction comes with condition
- The construction of six new schools in Calgary is tied to public school board helping the province find space for the expansion of charter schools. more »
- Parents in dark about teens tanning, study suggests
- New research into the use of indoor tanning salons by Alberta teenagers suggests their parents are clueless about it. more »
- Airdrie moves toward anti-bullying bylaw
- A bylaw to address bullying in Airdrie could be in place by this fall after it passed first reading at city council Monday evening. more »
- 6 ways to have a picnic in Calgary
- CBC Calgary's food and nutrition columnist Julie Van Rosendaal gives some suggestions for good picnic foods. more »
Top News Headlines
- 2 men jailed in Dominican wedding fight return to Canada
- Two Canadian men who were detained in the Dominican Republic for nearly three weeks after a post-wedding fight broke out at a resort have returned to Toronto, the latest step in a drama that the wife of one of the men said was "like a scene from the movies." more »
- Senators call for 'zero tolerance' on harassment in RCMP
- The RCMP should amend its code of conduct to explicitly define and prohibit harassment, a Senate committee is recommending in a newly tabled report. more »
- Are e-cigarettes safe to puff?
- As electronic or e-cigarettes grow in popularity, some health advocates want them to be regulated. more »
- Most groups don't want return of Trudeau speaking fees
- Most of the 17 charitable and other organizations that have paid speaking fees to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau during his time as an MP say they aren't interested in having their fees returned, despite Trudeau's offer on the weekend to reimburse any organization unhappy with his services. more »
- Motorcyclist takes photos of wolf chasing him on highway
- Violent serial attacker sent to prison indefinitely
- Bank robbing ex-MRU student president awaits sentence
- Tornado warning ends east of Calgary
- Amber Alert ends after infant girl located by Edmonton police
- Man accused of murder now facing sex-related charges
- Alberta police chiefs call for stricter speeding laws
- Wolf seen running along mountain highway again
- Bernard Callebaut's Papa Chocolat ordered to cease trading