Wolf warning issued for Bow Valley
Wolves have shown bold behaviour and accessed human food at a campsite
Parks Canada has posted a wolf warning for the Bow Valley in Banff National Park following some bold behaviour by wolves.
The warning covers campgrounds and day-use areas. It comes after wolves accessed human food at a campsite.
The public is reminded not to approach, entice or feed wildlife and to make sure food, pet food and garbage are stored inside buildings or vehicles.
Resource conservation manager Bill Hunt says it's so important human food is kept away from animals, especially wolves.
"There's the old saying that a dog is a man's best friend and basically they're one of the most easily food-conditioned animals out there … if people are feeding them, if they get into garbage, if people … drop a pack or something and the wolf is able to get a food reward, they definitely make that connection and seek it out in the future," Hunt tells CBC News.
On Tuesday the Bow Valley wolf pack entered an occupied campsite at Tunnel Mountain, ignoring efforts to chase them away, and one of them made off with a loaf of bread out of a closed cooler.
It's not the first time the pack has had a taste of human food, according to Hunt.
"Where this is different now is these wolves have shifted from being comfortable around people to actually associating people with food. The first case we call habituated, the second case we refer to as food conditioned," he explained.
Hunt says it's the same pack that was observed eating garbage at Johnston Canyon in January, and there have been many more sightings since.
Children should be supervised and pets kept on a leash at all times.
The warning advises anyone approached by a wolf to act aggressively to discourage it. Park users are encouraged to carry bear spray and know how to use it.
The warning is in place until further notice.
People are being asked to report all carnivore sightings to Banff Dispatch at 403-762-1470.
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