Jasper National Park has stopped issuing its regular bear warnings so that people will ‘give wildlife space’ and stop forming crowds to snap photos of the animals.
The weekly reports were originally created to warn people about areas to avoid if a bear had been spotted nearby. But now, they seem to be counterproductive.
In late July, Parks Canada posted a notice saying that “in an effort to give wildlife space and to reduce bear jams in Jasper National Park, we have discontinued the Jasper bear report.”
“Bear jams” are essentially when crowds of park visitors stop at the side of the road to look for bears in the nearby bush.
And although Parks Canada doesn’t tell drivers to stop rubbernecking to catch a glimpse of the animals, the notice does advise people to slow down and stay in their cars when they’re watching roadside bears.
People shouldn’t linger because the so-called “bear jams” not only prevent others from seeing the creatures but could be a safety concern and even spook the animals, Parks Canada said.
And, in what might be obvious when dealing with potentially dangerous wild animals, the notice warns tourists not to “follow a bear into the forest.”
Parks Canada is also working to be more proactive in reducing bear-human interactions by increasing education for tourists, which includes how to properly dispose of garbage to prevent it from attracting bears.
They warn people to “keep food, garbage, recyclables, pet food and BBQ’s in bear-proof storage or hard-sided vehicles.”
Parks Canada also advises people heading to bear country to travel in groups, keep bear spray on them, keep their dogs on a leash and give bears space if they’re spotted.