Wolf killed by Parks Canada in Banff, more incidents under investigation
BANFF, ALTA. -- Parks officials in Banff National Park euthanized a young male wolf after receiving multiple reports about the animal's poor health, rummaging for garbage and approaching people.
In a statement to CTV News, Parks Canada says the wolf was spotted by staff near the Sunshine Village Ski resort displaying problem behaviour three weeks ago.
Within the past week it was being closely monitored by officials, who say the animal appeared very thin while displaying "human food conditioning" behaviour so it was euthanized for public safety on Tuesday.
The same wolf could be behind another incident of "bold wolf behaviour" also under investigation.
A warning posted near the the Healy Creek, Egypt Lake and Pharaoh Creek areas says the backcountry campgrounds are closed after a wolf removed items from a tent and scoured for food at another campsite.
A warning is also in place for areas in and around the town of Banff, which includes Tunnel Mountain, the Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course, Minnewanka Loop, Cascade Ponds and Johnson Lake Reservoir.
"We put our food right away in our camper, and don’t throw anything outside and don’t feed any wildlife," said Maryam Javed while camping with her family near Tunnel Mountain on Thursday.
The third reported encounter also happened on the weekend.
The wolf was spotted on Highway One just east of the Town of Banff - and later spotted near Banff Avenue.
It was described as showing bold behaviour - approaching vehicles with dogs.
There's a wolf warning in effect for the town and nearby Tunnel Mountain camping and resort areas.
Upon learning of the death of the problem wolf, one visitor said he supported the decision for public safety.
"There are lots of areas that the wildlife are able to go and there are areas that people like to go and I think people have the right of way," said Gord Graves.
One conservation expert working on contract for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society said she was saddened to learn a Banff wolf had been put down — saying it's a difficult decision for officers.
"The less human activity you have, the greater the chance carnivores have to live a happy full life without risk of conflict with people," said Sarah Elmeligi, wildlife biologist.
She also emphasizes that people have the responsibility to enjoy the mountains without bringing harm to the wildlife.
"I’d like to live in a world were especially in national parks and provincial parks we put wildlife ahead of our own recreational needs," she said.
Parks Canada also says people should never approach, entice or feed wildlife and all food, garbage, and pet food should be stored inside a building or vehicle.
Children should be supervised and pets kept on a leash at all times.
Bear spray is also recommended and wolf sightings reported immediately to Banff Dispatch at 403-762-1470.