If you are camping or plan to camp in Canada’s Banff National Park note that Parks Canada is advising people to be cautious after campers had a close encounter with a lone wolf that showed “bold behaviour,” posing a risk to visitors.
The warning extends from the Fireside day-use area along the Bow Valley Parkway to Castle Junction, including all campgrounds and trails in the area.
Jesse Whittington, an ecologist with Parks Canada, said the warning for the Bow Valley Parkway – which runs between Banff and Lake Louise – was issued this week when a collared wolf entered the Castle Mountain campground on the night of 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.
Whittington said the wolf didn’t receive any food rewards from campers but added “her persistent behaviour” while being so close to campers “was concerning.”
“Once wolves and wildlife become conditioned to human food, it’s so hard to change their behaviour,” Whittington said.
Whittington said parks staff have been monitoring the wolf, which hasn’t returned to the campground.
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 other members of the pack were shot and killed by wildlife officials that same year after they had gotten into food and garbage left at campsites.