The five-year-old grizzly is the sibling of a well-known white bear in the area.
This is the first grizzly mortality on the Trans-Canada this year. Last month, an adult male grizzly that was unknown to ecologists was struck by a train in Banff National Park, about eight kilometres west of Lake Louise.
“This bear and its siblings do have the ability to climb our wildlife fences, which is unusual for grizzlies. Grizzlies don’t typically climb the fences but these siblings do that and it’s just to access vegetation this time of year,” said David Laskin, an ecologist for Parks Canada.
“Every year we expect the pulse of bear activity along roadsides to get the green vegetation but it’s been prolonged this year with the cooler spring and a snowpack that’s hanging in there at higher elevations.
“It’s not allowing the bears to disperse to higher elevations and it’s keeping them lower longer and putting them at risk along roadsides and also at risk of getting struck by vehicles.”
According to Laskin, Parks Canada is taking action to prevent more bear deaths on the highway. So far, the federal agency has reduced the speed limit to 70 km/h and put no-stopping zones in place along the highway.
“We would like to remind visitors that speeds of more than 30 kilometers an hour above the posted limit can result in vehicle impoundment,” Laskin said.
“Much of Banff and then portions of Yoho, the highway is fenced but that doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t expect to see or encounter wildlife on the road.
“If visitors and travelers are traveling through the park, please be aware of wildlife and travel within the speed limit.”