In the past few nights, the collared female wolf has been going into the Two Jack Main and Two Jack Lakeside campgrounds.
Officials she has received a number of “food rewards” after getting into garbage left by campers.
“She’s displaying some pretty bold behaviour toward people and is not responding to aversive conditioning,” said Greg Danchuk, acting superintendent for Banff National Park. “She continues to return to the campsite … after being hazed repeatedly. She’s very unwary of people and actively looking in campsites for food sources.
“This is a major visitor safety concern for us.”
Wildlife experts are in the field pursuing the wolf through her monitoring collar and will determine how to deal with her once she is found — including whether to put her down.
They are also looking toward a hard-sided camping only restriction in the two campgrounds until she is caught.
“We’ll try to move campers with tents somewhere else,” said Danchuk, noting the only problem appears to be the female juvenile in the pack.
Her mother, the alpha female in the pack, was shot and killed by wildlife officials in June after she had become aggressive with campers.
When she was put down, officials with Banff National Park had already used a dart to tranquilize and fit the younger female wolf with a monitoring collar, meaning three of the four grown wolves in the pack — including the father, or alpha male — could be closely watched.
They had also embarked on an aversive conditioning campaign to restore the natural wary behaviour of the pack by making noise and using paintball guns with chalk bullets to keep them out of the townsite and campgrounds.
In mid-July, the only uncollared grown wolf in the pack got into some garbage at Johnston Canyon campground, which led to charges against the camper.
There have also been multiple reminders to visitors by Parks Canada not to feed wildlife because it can ultimately lead to the death of the animals.
Danchuk said they’ve also increased patrols to talk to visitors about the importance of keeping campsites clean.
“It hasn’t been successful with everyone — and we are now in a situation where this wolf has become far too unwary and food conditioned,” he said.