Diane Ablonczy, minister of state for consular affairs, said Tuesday that she has spoken with Australia's high commissioner to Canada and requested that the search for Prabhdeep Srawn not be reduced at this time.
A spokesman for Ablonczy said the federal government is still waiting for a response from Australian officials.
Police in New South Wales could not be reached for comment on the request.
Australian authorities announced Tuesday that they would be scaling back the search even as Srawn's family and friends pleaded for an expanded search for the 25-year-old hiker from Brampton, Ont.
Dr. Tej Sahota, whose wife is Srawn's cousin, said the police search would only go on for another two days, with 21 people rather than the 28 previously searching.
"Today and tomorrow will be their final two days of search and if they don't locate him at that point they are going to call it off," Sahota said in an interview from Cleveland, Ohio.
Ablonczy said Canada is actively working with Australian authorities to discuss the search mission and to convey the family's concerns.
"Our engagement at all levels will continue. We join Canadians in praying for his safe return," she said Tuesday in a release.
A Canadian military reservist, Srawn was last seen May 13 when he drove to a village in the park where he intended to go for a bushwalk.
A search operation only began on May 20 when it was discovered he was missing.
Authorities in New South Wales said they had decided to scale down the operation after consulting medical experts and examining the conditions and weather forecasts for the area.
They also said that despite eight days of searching, emergency services have not been able to locate any sign of Srawn.
Supt. Shane Box, a local area commander, said he and other senior officers have been in constant contact with Srawn's family and the decision was not made lightly.
"Today I spoke with Mr. Srawn's family and made the tough decision to scale back the search."
But Sahota said the family still holds out hope Srawn is alive and already has offered a $15,000 Cdn reward for private hikers who may be able to help find him. They also plan to hire private search and rescue teams to continue looking for Srawn if necessary, he said.
Sahota added Srawn has hiking experience and is equipped to handle the weather. The trail in that area is fairly wide and there are some restrooms and even cabins in some places, he said.
"He's resourceful," Sahota said. "There's bugs to eat there. I've been reading that there are caterpillars and beetles and stuff like that that would be at that area of the mountain, so I'm sure he's got a good chance of surviving with food and water. There's fresh running water around the area too."
Srawn's family had earlier complained that the number of searchers being employed was far too small to cover the 7,000 square kilometres.
But police said they have conducted extensive searches over some of the hardest and most remote and unforgiving terrain in freezing temperatures.
Police also said they have concerns for the welfare of anyone planning to conduct their own searches for Srawn.
“I know this is an emotional time and people want to do everything they can to find Prabhdeep," said Box. “(But) the weather forecast for the next few days is unfavourable with conditions expected to deteriorate rapidly."
Box stressed police have not given up looking for Srawn and the scaled-back search will continue over the next two days.
— By Abdul Latheef in Toronto.
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