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'Be alert': First bear sighting of 2023 in Banff National Park

Banff National Park says its had its first recorded bear sighting on March 23, prompting a reminder for park users to remain vigilant about wildlife activity. (Supplied/Banff National Park) Banff National Park says its had its first recorded bear sighting on March 23, prompting a reminder for park users to remain vigilant about wildlife activity. (Supplied/Banff National Park)
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Parks Canada says the first bear sighting of the year was recorded last week, a good reminder for visitors to stay safe when exploring Banff National Park.

No details about the bear itself were released, but officials say it was seen on March 23.

As a result of the confirmation of bear activity, staff say visitors and residents should "be alert and show wildlife respect" no matter where they are in the area.

"Wildlife encounters can happen at any time in Banff National Park," Parks Canada said in a release.

Park users are also reminded of the following when they are out exploring the region:

  • Make noise to let animals, including bears, know where you are, so you aren't going to surprise them;
  • Equip yourself with bear spray, which is useful on animals other than bears, and know how to use it;
  • Be mindful of your surroundings for bear activity, including tracks, droppings, torn-up logs and turned-over rocks;
  • Travel in groups of four people or more, don't let your children wander and keep your dogs on a leash;
  • Remain on official trails and never go out at night; and
  • If you encounter a large dead animal, leave the area immediately and report it to park staff.

Anyone who sees a bear or cougar within Banff National Park is asked to report the sighting to Banff dispatch by calling 403-762-1470.

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