Warning issued in Banff National Park after female wolf approaches campers

BANFF, Alta. — A warning is in effect in Banff National Park after a wolf approached campers in a busy campground.

Parks Canada ecologist Jesse Whittington said the warning on the Bow Valley Parkway, which runs between Banff and Lake Louise, was issued this week because a collared wolf entered the Castle Mountain campground at night on Aug. 27.

“She searched through several occupied campsites for food and she approached campers to within one metre and then left the campground,” Whittington said in an interview Tuesday.

“She did not receive any food rewards, which is great, but her persistent behaviour while people were watching and following her was concerning.

“Once wolves and wildlife become conditioned to human food, it’s so hard to change their behaviour.”

The wolf, which found a mate and had at least four pups this spring, was one of the members in the Bow Valley pack that was fitted with a tracking collar in 2016.

“She was a yearling in 2016 when the Bow Valley Pack became food conditioned,” said Whittington. “She and her father were always the most wary wolves.

“Throughout the summer, she has been roaming throughout the Bow Valley and has always been skittish around people and has not entered into campgrounds, so we were concerned when we received this report of her entering the campground and clearly looking for food.”

Two of the other members of the pack were shot and killed by wildlife officials in the summer of 2016 when they became aggressive with campers.

Both wolves had gotten into food and garbage left at campsites.

Whittington said parks staff have been monitoring the wolf and she hasn’t returned to the campground.

But he reminded campers to follow park rules, which include keeping food and garbage secure and not feeding wildlife and giving animals space.

“It’s imperative that she’s not presented with any opportunities to get into any human food,” said Whittington.

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