Parks Canada officials say a grizzly bear has been spotted in and around the Banff townsite recently and are advising residents and visitors to be cautious.
The bear has been seen in a number of yards, streets and alleys looking for food and has come in close proximity to people several times.
The bear, known as female 148, generally responds well to Parks Canada efforts to move it away from high-use areas. However, with her recent increased activity in the townsite there is heightened risk of the bear accessing unsecured garbage or other unnatural food sources.
There is also increased risk of the bear being startled by people and triggering defensive behaviour. As Halloween nears, Parks requests residents refrain from placing pumpkins, candy or other potential food attractants outdoors. Parks recommends pumpkins be displayed from inside a window.
Parks wildlife management specialists will work in teams of two, around the clock, to monitor the bear’s location and use aversive conditioning, or hazing, to move it away from populated areas. Aversive conditioning is also used to ensure the bear does not become further habituated to people or feeding in populated areas.
Residents and visitors should be prepared to encounter this bear at any time in and around the townsite.
Parks Canada encourages people to follow these safe practices:
· secure all wildlife attractants
· watch for bears when travelling in this area
· travel in groups, supervise children and carry bear spray
· make noise when hiking and cycling
· keep all pets on leash and a close eye on children
· carry bear spray and know how to use it
· maintain a safe distance (at least 100 meters or three bus lengths)
between yourself and any bear
· report all bear sightings immediately to the visitor centre at 224
Banff Avenue, or call Banff Dispatch at 403-762-1470.