Thursday, July 28, 2016

Young wolf gets into garbage at Johnston Canyon campground

Colette Derworiz, Calgary Herald

Two grey wolves from the Bow Valley wolf pack at Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court in the morning on June 2, 2016. Simon Ham/Parks Canada / Postmedia

A young wolf from the troubled Bow Valley pack has gotten into some garbage at a campground in Banff National Park, leading to charges against a camper and prompting officials to remind others to keep their sites clean.
Late Tuesday night, wildlife officials were called to the Johnston Canyon campground, located along the Bow Valley parkway.
“There was campground staff that was still working at the time that first observed the animal,” said Steve Michel, human/wildlife conflict specialist with Banff National Park. “They observed it going campsite to campsite, sniffing around.
“While staff were en route, it located some garbage.”
Michel said it doesn’t appear the wolf got a significant food reward, but it was able to tear open the garbage bag left underneath a picnic table.
Officials were able to chase the animal away from the campground — although they are concerned it’s showing the same signs of trying to get human food and garbage that led to the death of its mother.
“We suspected earlier on that one of the grey yearlings was food conditioned and exhibiting some poor behaviour,” said Michel, noting it’s not completely unexpected.
Earlier that day, the same wolf travelled through the Tunnel Mountain campground and staff were able to chase it away with a chalk balls.
Michel said they will continue to haze the animal away from populated areas such as campgrounds and the townsites.
The camper has been charged with not having their garbage properly secured, which includes a mandatory court appearance and a maximum fine of $25,000.
Officials with Banff National Park had embarked on a don’t-feed-the-wildlife campaign after the mother wolf was put down in June when she became aggressive because she had gotten into human food.
“Food and garbage always jeopardizes wildlife,” said Michel, noting people need to read the wolf warning and understand that feeding wildlife can be lethal. “It goes beyond the wolves with bears and coyotes and all of the animals that could potentially pass by people’s campsites.
“That really jeopardizes their survival,” he said.