Banff Wolf Killed After Bold Behaviour At Campgrounds

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ALBERTA WOLF
A female grey wolf, like the one pictured here, has been killed in Banff National Park. | Colleen Gara via Getty Images
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BANFF, Alta. — Parks Canada says staff have killed another wolf that was seeking to feed at campgrounds in Banff National Park, as wardens charge a growing number of campers for leaving out food and garbage.

Christina Tricomi, a parks spokeswoman, said the wolf was displaying bold behaviour towards people and could not be scared away from returning to the Two Jack Main and Lakeside campgrounds.

About 200 tent campers were moved away from the area as a precaution before the wolf was destroyed on Wednesday night.

"This was a very difficult decision for Parks Canada staff, who work so hard to protect these animals. But in the end, it was a necessary action to ensure visitor safety,'' Tricomi wrote in an email Thursday.

Campers keep leaving food out, despite warnings

In June, Parks Canada staff killed a female wolf that it said aggressively looked for food at the Tunnel Mountain campground near Banff.

Park wardens have charged people at 20 campsites over the past month — including eight people over the past week — for keeping unsatisfactory campsites, a charge which includes leaving out food or garbage.

"Parks Canada will be patrolling all campgrounds and any non-compliance with keeping a clean campsite will immediately result in the cancellation of permits, evacuation and charges with fines of up to $25,000,'' she said.

Parks Canada said it has worked hard to try to keep wolves away from campers, including collaring some of the animals to monitor their behaviour.

"This was a very difficult decision for Parks Canada staff, who work so hard to protect these animals."

Wolf warnings, including reminders not to leave food out, are posted at campgrounds and campers are told about the danger when they check in.

"Despite these efforts, wolves are still receiving food rewards in campgrounds and sites were still being left in unsatisfactory condition by visitors,'' Tricomi said.

The wolf killed in June was the alpha female of the Bow Valley pack, said Greg Danchuk, the Banff park's visitor experience manager.

The yearling female wolf that killed on Wednesday was one of her offspring.

"Campers need to keep exceptionally clean campsites."

Danchuk said that about eight months ago wolves from the pack ate garbage left at a construction site. Since then, two of the wolves associated people with getting a meal.

"Campers need to keep exceptionally clean campsites,'' he said. "We do extra patrols in the evenings to educate people. The smallest things can lead to some very large problems.''

The three remaining wolves in the pack are doing well and don't appear to be interested in campsites, he said.

Tough season for wolves

It has been a tough season for wolves in the park, which has been experiencing an increase in visitors. Campgrounds are often full.

Last month, three cubs from the pack were killed by a train. Another cub was killed by a train in June.

Katie Morrison, conservation director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, said people who visit national parks need to remember why they were established — in part, to protect wildlife.

She said they are concerned about the fate of the wolves and the conservation of parks as ecosystems.

"People who are going to these places to appreciate them are not acting responsibly,'' she said.

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