Banff campground closed after bear trashes tent and approaches car

The Castle Mountain Campground in Banff National Park is closed to the public after a poorly behaved black bear trashed a tent and approached a vehicle.

Officials say the animal displayed signs of being food conditioned

This black bear was photographed at the Castle Mountain campground, exhibiting what officials said could be food-conditioned behaviour. (Parks Canada)

The Castle Mountain campground in Banff National Park is closed to the public after a poorly behaved black bear trashed a tent and approached a vehicle. 

Bill Hunt, the resource conservation manager for Banff, said the bear stood up on its hind legs and placed its front feet on the car, peered in the window and sniffed around the side mirror. 

"For us, this is definitely alarming because it's behaviour that's indicative of an animal that's been fed or is becoming food conditioned," said Hunt. 

Attempting to catch the bear

An officer responded to the call and examined the campground. 

"What he found was a tent that had been stomped down and damaged, scratched at by the bear," said Hunt, who added the site appeared to be free of food or any other items that might attract a bear. 

Parks officials were able to identify down stuffing on a photo of the bear at the car, indicating it was the same one that stomped the tent. 

The campground is closed so that staff can attempt to trap the bear and fit it with a collar in order to track its movements and see if it continues to exhibit the behaviour of a food-conditioned bear.

It's also to protect the public.

"Bears can become very aggressive in search of food. They're definitely driven by their bellies. Bears spend all summer thinking about food because they've been dreaming of it all winter," said Hunt.

Wolf killed

The report came on the same day Banff officials announced they killed a "bold" wolf that was displaying some troubling behaviour. 

"History has shown that food-conditioned carnivores present a clear risk to visitor safety," said Hunt when discussing that incident on Tuesday. "This wolf was involved in a number of incidents involving people and food."

Hunt is reminding people to keep their campsites free of food and other attractants and to never feed wildlife. 

With files from Diane Yanko