Parks Canada says it was forced to euthanize young wolf spotted near Banff

Parks Canada says the recent behaviour of a young, emaciated male wolf left them no choice but to euthanize him this week.

It had become habituated and was seeking human food, according to wildlife officials

Wildlife officials say they were forced to euthanize a wolf, illustrated by this file photo, citing its habituation and human food conditioning.

Parks Canada says the recent behaviour of a young, emaciated male wolf left them no choice but to euthanize it this week.

The wolf was first reported to wildlife officials three weeks ago after a sighting on Sunshine Road, near Banff's Sunshine Village ski resort.

Wildlife officials spotted the wolf again on July 6, apparently seeking human food and garbage, entering a storage building and approaching people.

"Given this behaviour, the wolf presented a risk to public safety. So Parks Canada team members captured and collared the wolf to assess its body condition and monitor its behaviour," said Justin Brisbane, a spokesperson with Parks Canada, in a release.

Wolves from the Bow Valley pack are seen using a highway underpass in April 2017. Parks Canada says wolf packs have learned to exist in proximity of humans, and visitors should take steps to ensure that relationship can continue. (Parks Canada/Canadian Press)

But the wolf's "excessive level" of habituation and conditioning to human food led officials to determine that it was not possible to rehabilitate the animal.

"[Parks Canada] therefore humanely euthanized the wolf to ensure public safety. This action was taken after carefully considering all other options for keeping this animal on the landscape," Brisbane said.

"This was a very difficult decision for Parks Canada team members, who work hard to protect these animals and the ecosystems they live in."

On July 8, Parks Canada warned visitors to steer clear of a bold wolf that had approached backcountry campsites and sought human food rewards.

Brisbane said Parks Canada's wildlife team was still trying to determine if that wolf was the one that was euthanized on July 7.

In the Banff area, wolves have been struck and killed by motorists.

Another Banff wolf attacked a family of four from the United States in 2019, and wildlife officers killed a wolf in 2016 after extremely bold behaviour.

With files from David Bell