Parks Canada focus on wildlife safety

Grizzly and cubs
A grizzly bear and her cubs cross the road in Banff National Park. (Photo by Parks Canada / Alex Taylor)

Wildlife alert issued after reports of wildlife being fed and several black bears struck on park roads.

Parks Canada asks visitors to drive carefully on mountain park roads and avoid feeding animals.

Wildlife face considerable risks this time of year. Wolves and black bears are two species of particular concern. Many wolves and black bears remain in valley bottoms in search of food which places in close proximity to roads and increasing the probability of accidents.

Many animals are killed on roads in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks each year and speed often plays a major role. Park staff members work hard to minimize collisions with wildlife, but they cannot act alone -– they really need the public’s help.”

Increased driver vigilance will go a long way to ensuring wildlife safety. Drivers are asked to please slow down, observe speed limits and be extra vigilant on the roads at dawn and dusk when animals are most active. Not only can following the speed limit prolong an animal’s life by many years, it also contributes to human safety and has the potential to save lives.

Parks Canada also reminds visitors that feeding or harassing wildlife is against the law and visitors should avoid touching, enticing, feeding, or harassing wildlife. this practise can lead to habituation, causing animals to lose their wariness of humans and increasing the risk of accidents.

Parks Canada employs a number of on-the-ground management actions to help reduce roadside wildlife collisions and habituation, including the use of Bear Guardians and signage to alert visitors to the presence of wildlife on roads. Bear Guardians interact with visitors on park roads to prevent, monitor and manage bear jams. Bear Guardians work closely with resource conservation personnel, who are trained to work directly with bears to minimize the probability of bear/human conflicts and keep bears away from roads, garbage and other risks.

Parks Canada strongly encourages the public to report wildlife sightings and suspicious behaviour -– such as wildlife feeding or hazardous driving –- by calling 1 888-WARDENS.

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