Parks Canada said grizzly bears have been recently observed within the town of Jasper.
They are youngsters (teenager bears) who the government said are motivated to enter the townsite for two reasons:
- To avoid other bears (young bears are at risk of being killed by other dominant bears outside the townsite).
- To find rich food sources, particularly vegetation that is greener than vegetation available outside of town.
While Parks Canada said its objective is to manage the well-being of both people and wildlife, in the event of a conflict, human safety is the priority.
In the short term, wildlife specialists are actively responding to reports of bears in town, letting the bears know it’s not okay to be in town by hazing them outside of the townsite as swiftly as possible.
Parks Canada said bear management actions may escalate to trapping and relocating the bears. Putting down a bear is always a last resort, the government agency said.
In the long term, a landscape-level strategic plan addressing things that attract bears in the valley is being developed.
The goal is to prevent bears from being food-conditioned and used to being around people.
Residents of Jasper are asked to get rid of things that may attract bears, such as fruit trees.
Parks Canada said in 2021, there were several occurrences of bears feeding on fruit trees within the townsite. Parks Canada will remove fruit trees from properties at no charge.
People are also asked to treat their backyards like a campsite by removing attractants such as bird feeders, pet food, BBQ grease catchers, as well as keeping dogs on a leash outside yards.
Earlier this month, Parks Canada also warned of black and grizzly bears being spotted at the Jasper Park Lodge golf course.
On May 13, a section of Trail 7 along the south and east borders of the JPL golf course was also closed due to bears.
Anyone who sees a bear in town is asked to maintain a safe distance of at least 100 metres and call Jasper Dispatch at 780-852-6155 immediately (24 hours a day).