How To: Prevent Conflicts with Jasper Wildlife
Although Jasper’s park animals appear unconcerned, all wild animals are unpredictable and potentially dangerous.
1. Do NOT feed or disturb wildlife.
2. Never leave food attractants out for wildlife. Food attractants include:
- coolers (they are NOT bearproof!)
- food scraps or leftovers
- dirty dishes, pots or barbecues
- empty bottles, cans or wrappers
- toothpaste, soap or other toiletries
- pet food dishes (full or empty)
3. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Because it is impossible to predict how wildlife will react in any situation, avoiding encounters is the only sure way to keep people safe and wildlife wild.
- Always watch out for animals or signs of their presence.
- Carefully supervise children whenever outdoors.
4. Always keep your distance.
Do not approach or entice wildlife. Use binoculars or a telephoto lens instead. Remain at least:
- 100 metres away from BEARS, COUGARS and WOLVES
- 30 metres away from ELK, DEER, SHEEP, GOATS and MOOSE
5. When Driving:
Be on the lookout for animals near the road. Drive with utmost caution, especially at dusk and dawn, when many animals are most active, and visibility is poor.
If you see an animal by the road:
* Slow down. It could run out into your path at any time.
* Warn other motorists by flashing your hazard lights.
* Where there is one animal, expect others nearby.
If you wish to stop and view roadside wildlife:
* Pull safely out of traffic.
* Remain in your vehicle.
* Move on after a few minutes.
Insider Tips: ABOUT JASPER’S ANIMALS
Be mindful that Jasper’s wildlife is truly wild–unpredictable and potentially dangerous. And therefore, you must act according to the rules of nature.
If a cougar, wolf or coyote approaches you, send a clear message that you are NOT potential prey.
* Pick up small children immediately.
* Do anything you can to make yourself look bigger.
* Be prepared to use pepper spray if you have it.
* Fight back aggressively if attacked.
* DO NOT crouch, play dead, run, or turn your back to the animal.
To a carnivore, your PET may look appetizing.
* Keep dogs on a leash and walk them in open areas during daylight hours only.
* Do not leave pets unattended outside.
As docile as they may seem, elk are wild animals too. Getting too close to elk may incite attacks, which have occurred at any time of the year. Females are most aggressive during the May/June calving season, and males are especially dangerous during the September/October period.
What should I do if I see a BEAR?
1. If you are driving: stay in your car, and consider not stopping.
2. If you are not in a vehicle:
* Stay calm. If a bear rears on its hind legs and waves its nose about, it is trying to identify you. Remain still and talk calmly so that it knows you are human and not a prey animal. Bears may also run toward you and turn away at the last moment. A scream or sudden movement may trigger an attack.
* Pick up children, stay in a group.
* Back away slowly. Do not run.
* Leave the area. If this is impossible, wait until the bear leaves; make sure it has an escape route.
3. Reduce your risk of a surprise encounter:
* Make noise. Clap, sing or yell to announce your presence, especially where a bear might not otherwise smell, hear or see you coming. (Bear bells are not very effective.)
* Travel in groups, on established trails, and during daylight hours.
* Minimize odours by proper storage of food, garbage and toiletries.
* Leave the area if you see a bear or fresh tracks, droppings, diggings; or if you come across a large dead animal (a bear may be nearby).
4. If you surprise a bear and it defends itself:
* Use bear spray if you have it. PLAY DEAD, let it know you are not a threat: lie on stomach with legs apart, cover back of head and neck with hands, keep pack on to protect your back.
5. If a bear stalks you and then attacks, or attacks at night:
* Try to escape, use bear spray if you have it. FIGHT BACK, let it know that you are not easy prey. (This kind of predatory attack is very rare.)