Jasper National Park says charges possible if people exit vehicles near wildlife

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WATCH (June 15): A family driving home from a trip to the mountains captured a unique image of a white-headed bear cub. – Jun 15, 2020

Jasper National Park says visitors must stay in their vehicles when viewing wildlife on roads.

Officials in the Alberta park have issued a notice of restriction, which will be in place until at least July 9, to give bears and other wildlife the space they need.

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They say anyone involved in a traffic jam due to wildlife should listen to staff on site.

They add that people who create unsafe conditions for others could face prosecution.

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Park officials said, under the Canada National Parks Act, roadside wildlife viewing is designated as restricted, and subject to the following conditions:

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  • No person shall willfully approach, remain, view, or engage in any activity within
    • 100 metres of any bear, cougar, or wolf, except when completely inside a legally positioned motor vehicle,
    • 30 metres of any elk, moose, caribou, sheep, or goat except when completely inside a legally positioned motor vehicle,
    • Any distance that displaces or interferes with the free, unimpeded movement of wildlife,
    • Any distance that creates or contributes to a potentially hazardous condition or situation
  • No person shall remain within prescribed distances during inadvertent, accidental, or surprise encounters with wildlife

The restrictions apply in all areas within 200 metres of any road, highway, or place within a park intended for use by the public for the passage or parking of vehicles.

Wildlife, particularly bears, are spending more time in the valley bottom and close to the Jasper townsite this year because the spring melt is behind schedule.

Officials note that bears, particularly mother bears with cubs, can take aggressive action if they are being threatened.

“Exiting your vehicle to approach or pursue wildlife is unlawful and unsafe,” officials said in a news release.

“Staying in your vehicle reduces the risk of wildlife attack and habituation, and provides a greater level of safety for everyone.”

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Ask an Expert: Bear Safety

— With files from Global News


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