At least nine wolves were in the Bow Valley wolf pack in Banff, Alberta in 2016. Today, the two survivors have moved on, leaving behind a harrowing story of a family torn apart by human activity.
The CBC reported that, of the known members of the Bow Valley wolf pack, one was killed by a hunter outside the park, two were killed for “aggressive” behaviour, and all three pups were killed by trains. The remaining female connected with another male wolf and hasn’t been spotted all summer.
“The remaining male, who has a GPS collar,has now joined a pack of four or five wolvesin the southernpart of the park. It'scalled the Spray pack,” the CBC reported.
The report goes on to explain various circumstances for the wolves moving on, and what’s impacting their travels. But the core issue, which led to the death of the first two wolves for “aggressive” behaviour remains: human behaviour and attractants creating conflict. Multiple reports indicated that the “aggressive” behaviour was wolves approaching people, campsites, and searching for food.
The efforts of Parks Canada to add more wildlife corridors into planning, staff to educate, and levy small fines against people who didn’t comply with attractant management, it wasn’t enough. The Fur-Bearers believe that a greater emphasis on enforcement within the parks, as well as intelligent planning, is necessary to prevent this from occurring again in Banff and elsewhere – which it surely will, unless the root cause is addressed: the behaviour of people, not wolves.
Please speak to your friends, family, and neighbours about managing attractants, wherever you live, and speak to your community leaders about educational programs, by-laws, or policies to assist in preventing conflict with wildlife from bears and wolves to raccoons and skunks. The Fur-Bearers will be pleased to help you however possible.
Photo of Bow Valley wolf provided by KerriMartinPhotography.com.