May 16, 2014 5:00 pm

Visitors to Waterton Lakes National Park urged to obey wildlife rules

Jon Stuart-Smith’s job is to be on bear alert. There are over a dozen bear sightings throughout Waterton Lakes National Park each day and it’s his job to make sure they stay away from the town site.

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Stuart-Smith is a wildlife conflict specialist at the park. “We do have a lots of bears that roam around the park. We want to make sure those bears don’t get comfortable in the high human areas. As soon as a bear shows up in the park or campground my job is to run out to use a bunch of techniques like yelling at the bear, bear spray or noise makers to get that bear to move away,”

Stuart-Smith says many tourists are naïve to the park’s animals.

“People that arrive here are not always aware that wildlife is dangerous. The deer in the town site look tamed but they can strike hit you with your hooves and they can cause a lot of damage.”

Stuart-Smith says bear attacks don’t happen often in Waterton. The last one was in 1980. Tourists are recommended to stay at least 100 meters away from bears if they come across one.

“There has been a couple of maulings over the course of Waterton’s history. The last one was in the 80’s in the crypt lake area.”

But seasoned Waterton campers say if you follow the park rules an encounter with a bear should be pleasant.

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