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Split Lip the grizzly herds tourists on popular Banff trail

Parks Canada is warning Banff trail users to carry bear spray, after tourists were followed up a popular trail by a large grizzly nicknamed Split Lip.

Large male named for scars on his face

A 250-kilogram grizzly known to Banff park wildlife staff as Bear No. 136 was nicknamed Split Lip by locals because of a massive scar on his mouth. (D. Rafla/Parks Canada)

Parks Canada is warning anyone on the trails in Banff to carry bear spray after a number of tourists were followed up the popular Johnston Canyon trail Tuesday night by a grizzly.

The large male — nicknamed "Split Lip" by locals because of the scars on his face — walked through the parking lot and started ambling up the trail.

"It's unusual to have a bear use that trail [because] it's very, very busy," Parks Canada conservation manager Bill Hunt told CBC News.

Hunt says about 20 people had to scramble to get out of the animal's way, and not one was carrying bear spray.

"Even though you're on a [busy] trail, anytime you step onto the trail in Banff, you can expect to encounter wildlife, whether that's bears, wolves, cougars or elk, and it's always advisable to be carrying bear spray," Hunt said.

Warning signs are now posted in the area.

Split Lip has since been spotted in a nearby valley.

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