When Banff had lots of tourists, but too many elk visiting town
Some 500 elk were estimated to be living in and around Alberta tourist town in 1998
An Alberta tourist town was drawing new sightseers.
The problem was its newest guests were elk and they weren't loving their human company.
"Banff has become an example of what not to do with a national park: the town has thrown nature off balance," the CBC's Natalie Clancy told viewers on The National on July 23, 1998.
"The elk population here has exploded because the town has become a haven for them. There's lots to eat, no predators in sight."
But Clancy explained "the mix of so many people with wild animals has become a dangerous combination."
'These are wild animals'
Judy Loretan was out jogging and surprised an elk, which turned around and charged her.
She feared a lot of tourists would not realize that getting too close to an elk could be a problem.
"These are wild animals and this is what people visiting ... don't realize," Loretan told CBC News.
The elk were also damaging the plants they were eating in the park and on properties in the townsite.
Not the fault of the elk
"We need to re-establish the movement of predators around the Town of Banff, so that when we can adjust the numbers of elk, predators can maintain those numbers and not allow them to increase to unnatural concentrations," said Dave Dalman of Parks Canada.
Clancy said Banff was home to an estimated 500 elk and a proposal was being debated to relocate 400 of those animals deeper into the park.
But at least one critic saw a lack of fairness in the relocation strategy under consideration.
"If this natural system where we find ourselves is screwed up, the elk didn't do it, we did it," said naturalist Mike McIvor.
"And I think we need to be very careful that we don't ask the elk to pay the entire price for fixing it."