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Wolf hit and killed on Trans-Canada Highway in Banff

A wolf was hit and killed by a vehicle on the Trans-Canada Highway over the weekend, according to Parks Canada.

Death came a day after another wolf was killed in an unrelated incident 150 kilometres away

An earlier photo of the wolf that was killed on the Trans-Canada Highway. It was known as Wolf 1904. (Parks Canada)

A wolf was hit and killed by a vehicle on the Trans-Canada Highway over the weekend, according to Parks Canada.

RCMP officers spotted the wolf's body on the shoulder of the highway at 6:45 a.m. on Aug. 10, just west of Vermillion Lakes, and alerted Parks Canada.

Dan Rafla with Parks Canada said the animal was likely struck sometime overnight or earlier that morning, and it's possible the driver wasn't aware of the collision.

"In this case, it was a black wolf, it was at night and it was raining, so there is a possibility somebody wasn't aware of it," Rafla said Thursday. "Or they knew they hit something but they weren't aware of who to call and they kept on driving."

The wolf's injuries suggested it died "pretty much instantly," he added.

The female wolf was born the winter before last, Rafla said.

It was part of the Bow Valley wolf pack and had been collared for tracking purposes.

"She was being observed more often than we'd like in human-use areas," Rafla said. "She wasn't showing any behavioural concerns but she was just being a bit habituated towards people, so that was the reason for putting the collar on."

Pack expected to carry on

The wolf's death is a blow to the pack, Rafla said, but he noted the group still has a breeding pair, another yearling wolf and several new pups that were born this year.

"We don't consider that the pack is going to lose its cohesion," he said.

The incident is a reminder to slow down when travelling through parks, he added, even in places like Banff where wildlife fencing is in place along major roadways.

"People assume that because it's fenced, animals aren't going to be able to get on the highway," Rafla said. "And, generally speaking, it has reduced a lot of mortality, but certainly there are animals that still get on the highway and we need people ... to respect the speed limit."

He also asked anyone who spots an animal on the highway to alert Parks Canada by calling the Banff dispatch line at 403-762-1470.

2nd wolf death in as many days

In an unrelated incident on Aug. 9, another wolf was killed in Banff by Parks Canada officials after it attacked a family sleeping in a tent at the Rampart Creek Campground.

That campground is about 150 kilometres away from where the young wolf was found dead on the highway on Aug. 10.

Parks Canada says wolf attacks are extremely rare and the animal that attacked the tent was in poor physical condition and likely near the end of its lifespan.

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