A young black bear has been euthanized after displaying an “excessive level of habituation and food-conditioning” at Waterton Lakes National Park.
In a statement Thursday, Waterton Lakes National Park said on July 10, Parks Canada closed several trails and backcountry campgrounds in the Baureman Valley after receiving reports of a black bear in the area that was biting unattended backpacks and came into contact with an occupied tent.
Officials said just days later, a black bear ripped an empty tent set up by Parks Canada members.
A young black bear was also recently spotted at the Red Rock Canyon day-use area, looking for garbage and leaning on a vehicle with people inside, officials said.
Parks Canada said it is confident the above incidents all involve the same bear.
“Unfortunately, due to the black bear’s excessive level of habituation, food-conditioning and that it presented a risk to public safety, Parks Canada wildlife experts had to euthanize the animal on the afternoon of July 20,” the statement said.
“This action was taken after carefully considering all other options for keeping the animal on the landscape while following Parks Canada policies and procedures.”
A bear warning remains in place for the Bauerman Valley in Waterton Lakes National Park.
Officials noted that while the bear posed a risk to the public’s safety, Parks Canada works to promote the continued co-existence of humans and wildlife.
Parks Canada said to avoid dangerous interaction with animals, visitors should follow several steps when visiting national parks, including disposing of all garbage in the provided trash cans, keeping all food secure and stored away and never feeding wildlife.
“Black bears have learned how to exist in proximity of humans in Waterton Lakes National Park,” the statement said.
“It is important for residents and visitors to remember that they share the surrounding habitat with wildlife and take the steps necessary to keep themselves and wildlife safe.”
Any concerning bear sightings should be reported to Parks Canada at 1-888- 927-3367.
Waterton Lakes is located about 119 kilometres southwest of Lethbridge, Alta.