Rob: Let’s talk wildlife because they’ve certainly noticed that our patterns and behaviors in the Bow Valley in certain areas have been changing.  They’ve been taking over.

Tanya: A number of closures are in place in Banff National Park and particularly around the town site for wildlife that are almost reclaiming areas typically that would see a lot of human use. For example, there’s a closure at the Old Banff Cemetery for an aggressive coyote. A killdeer is nesting at the ball diamonds at the Banff Recreation Grounds. And nesting loons at third Vermilion Lake. Avoiding areas where, an animal needs space is very critical to helping that animal survive.

What we’re noticing here is that as human use has dropped completely with COVID-19 restrictions, animals have kind of taken over some areas. We’re not the only place to experience this either.

Rob: And an inverse sort of story in the Silvertip area. An aggressive elk that charged somebody up there, and as part of that story, a conversation about an elk calf being born on a driveway on Kananaskis Way. I think that may be an example of us humans taking over some of the areas with development in places where the elk were hanging out and that’s been pushing them into more residential areas.

Tanya: It’s a good reminder of elk calving season. We’re definitely seeing more elk in Canmore, year after year. Some of the science would support that elk choose to come into residential areas to avoid predators. I think everyone should be taking note of some of the comments in the story in the Outlook this week, where wildlife officials are definitely going to be looking at other options for managing this issue. That could include things like that National Park used to do in terms of killing elk to manage populations.

Rob:  I think this can tie into the wildlife corridor conversation. It’s quite obvious that, in this instance, when human use is reduced wildlife move in and kind of reclaim that territory. So I think that’s good evidence that our use of places where wildlife are supposed to be, ie. wildlife corridors, does indeed affect how they move and how they use those spaces.

Tanya: One of the biggest wildlife issues for Canmore is human use and wildlife corridors. This is entitlement and privilege of us thinking that this space is ours to use and every   person on that landscape adds up and pushes wildlife out of it. I would like to see next steps from different levels of government in terms of finding ways to  meet those objectives of reducing human use of wildlife corridors. It’s not clear to us at times what these places are. There are no signs that tells you you’re walking into a wildlife corridor in most of the places where they exist. There are some, and that was the start of a project to try and communicate this information to our community.

Filed under: Banff, Canmore, Mountain Insider, Wildlife