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Prominent grizzly bear returns to Protection Mountain, prompting camping restrictions

Grizzly bear No. 142 and her two young cubs were back at Protection Mountain campground, which led Parks Canada to ban tents and soft-sided camping vehicles for the remainder of the camping season

BANFF – The return of a grizzly mamma and her cubs to an area where she punched holes in a tent trying to get food inside has led to camping restrictions at Protection Mountain Campground.

In early July, Bear No. 142 was drawn to investigate a tent by the smell of food, including a bag of oats, but thankfully didn’t get any and didn’t immediately return to the Banff National Park campground.

Parks Canada officials say she returned to the campground at dawn Thursday (July 25), but just passed through.

“There was no food in the tent and she did not stop to investigate,” said Amy Krause, a spokesperson for Parks Canada in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay field unit.

“However, as a precaution, Parks Canada has implemented a hard-sided camper requirement at the campground for the duration of the season.”

That means only hard-sided camper vans will be permitted in the campground, while tents and soft-sided campers will be banned. A similar restriction has been in place at the Lake Louise campground for many years.

Protection Mountain Campground is part of bear No. 142’s home range.

When she investigated the tent in early July, she was scared away by people honking horns, as well as the camper inside the tent who woke up and began to yell and holler.

The mamma bear didn’t get any food, but did put two small puncture holes in the tent.

Bears can become bolder around people once they have developed a taste for human food, which ends up dangerous for people and can seal the fate for the animal; thus, the saying "a fed bear is a dead bear."

Parks Canada has stepped up its presence in the self check-in campground.

“Resource conservation teams continue to monitor her closely and evaluate our management measures in the area,” Krause said.

Grizzly bear No. 142 is a prominent bruin in the Lake Louise area. She is the offspring of her famed mother, bear No. 72, a 22-year-old female grizzly and former matriarch who died when she fell off a cliff a couple of years ago.

Meanwhile, first-come, first-served campgrounds suitable for tents and soft-sided campers are available at Castle Mountain, Mosquito Creek, Silverhorn Creek and Waterfowl Lake campgrounds.

“As always, we ask that all visitors please dispose of garbage in bear-proof garbage bins and to store food, toiletries and cookware inside vehicles or in the bear-proof food lockers provided in all campgrounds,” Krause said.



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