Banff National Park

My top 5 safety tips when encountering wildlife on the highway

January 9, 2019

Banff is beautiful and all I wanted to do was get lost in the woods, unfortunately hiking wasn’t an option with a cranky 18 month old, so we decided to take a drive to see some of Banff’s beautiful lakes. One the way home we were beat, we drove XX km for the day and Leo was exhausted from the long day of driving. Rudy and I spent the day trying to spot any type of larger wildlife from the car, it had been 6 hours and no luck. Driving down the trans Canada highway, we see a few cars pulled over and of course with excitement we pulled over as well to see 2 black bears munching on some vegetation on the side of the highway. We couldn’t believe it. Within minutes about a dozen cars pulled over and the excitement in me started to drain as the anger started to rise. When we pulled over, we stayed in our car on the opposite side of the highway. We respected their space, stayed quite and watched. As more people stopped, they became more daring, one mother and her infant son were jumping up and down, with the bear nearly 4 feet away from them, she screamed “look son look.” She was loud, came very close to them and kept yelling for husband to take pictures. DON’T BE LIKE THIS LADY. If those bears felt threatened they could have taken one lunge and severely hurt her and her son.

They next “photographer” with his incredibly long lens, armed with bear spray on his hip, ventured off the highway towards the bigger bear to get a close up shot. He unclipped his spray, turned around and jokingly said “just in case they pull a fast one me”. I rolled my eyes with disgust and secretly hoped the bear smashes his $2500.00 lens. I couldn’t stomach the stupidity of his actions. Let’s be real if something were to happen, the bear would have been blamed.

Long story short let’s no be like the mother jumping up and down in the bears face or the “photographer” putting himself and the bears at risk. According to Park’s Canada, if you see a bear from your car:

  1. Consider slowing down and not stopping
  2. Observe and take pictures of wildlife from your vehicle
  3. Remain a safe distance away from wildlife
  4. NEVER EVER feed wildlife
  5. If you do decide to stop, pull to the side of the highway, use your hazard lights, take a quick picture and move on. It’s unsafe for the wildlife and yourself to impede traffic on a busy highway.

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