21 Jul 2017

Wildlife Crossing! Staying Safe in Banff National Park

Author: SuperUser Account  /  Categories: Wildlife, Banff  / 

With summer around the corner and Parks Canada celebrating Canada’s 150th, Banff Adventures is excited to welcome even more visitors than usual to our backyard. Banff Natural park is Canada’s first national park and boasts incredible views, a perfect playground for outdoor enthusiasts, along with countless wildlife species for visitors to spot. If you’re considering a trip to the Canadian Wilderness this summer, Banff Adventures hosts a wide variety of activities, trips and tours for those looking for an unforgettable experience.

While we’re thrilled to see new faces joining us in the great outdoors this year, we’d also like to take a moment to give any first-time park visitors a few pointers when it comes to wildlife safety. Our resident creatures and critters can be breathtaking up close, but first and foremost, it’s important to respect that we are in their home, and that they can be unpredictable in nature. To make sure both you and your family stay safe, keep these top tips in mind:

Do Not Disturb Wildlife

As we said above, the animals you’ll encounter here in Banff are wild, and by nature, unpredictable. While it may be tempting to think of these animals as cute and cuddly, you put both yourself, and them in danger if you approach too closely or without caution. Always stay alert and aware of your surroundings. If you come across an animal, the best thing to do is to observe silently, and from a considerable distance. Cubs, calves, and other babies usually have ‘Mom’ watching nearby, and should not be approached under any circumstances. There are plenty of tours, observation points, and designated areas for you to wildlife spot in a safe manner, so there’s no need to worry about missing out. It’s also worth noting that Parks Canada takes the preservation of wildlife in the parks very seriously, and those that pose a threat to animals or their environment can face hefty fines.

Think Like a Carnivore

Majestic as they may be, cougars, wolves, and coyotes (amongst other animals), can be easily enticed by the smell of human food and activity. Keep a close eye on children when playing outdoors, and do your best to stay aware of your surroundings. If you’re planning on bringing Fido to the Park with you, make sure your pets are leashed at all times, and never left unattended. Dogs can become easy prey for larger animals, as well as draw them into the open. Be sure to properly store your food, garbage and dog food, so wild animals are unable to access it.

Stay In Your Car & Don’t Impede Traffic

One of the most exciting features of navigating the park can be the chance encounters you have with creatures grazing off to the side of the road. It can be tempting to give into impulse and stop, or even pull off to the side of the road. Unfortunately, when done outside of designated viewpoints, this can create a multitude of problems. Slowing down traffic on main roads can cause erratic behaviour from both other drivers and the animals, putting everyone at risk. Leaving your vehicle holds the same risk, and strongly discouraged. Exciting as it may be to spot a Big Horn Sheep or Elk, remember that there are plenty of animals roaming around the park. Stay patient, and you’re more than likely to encounter wildlife in a way that’s safer for both you and them.

Know What to Do if You Have a Chance Encounter

Sometimes, no matter how careful you are, animals may stumble upon your path. Follow these guidelines from Parks Canada to know how to react should you encounter a carnivore or our ever present Elk friends. Again, the best thing you can do to ensure your safety from the outset is to stay alert and aware. Do yourself a favour and avoid getting lost in your phone, or even your camera for any extended amounts of time. Our animals will thank you for treading carefully in their habitat!

Wildlife safety is an important part of life in the mountains, and we encourage those with any further questions to visit the Parks Canada website for more information. By planning in advance, you help make sure that everyone stays safe, animals included.

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