Bears out in Banff National Park as train derailment cleanup continues
A grizzly bear is seen fishing along a river in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park near Bella Coola, B.C. Friday, Sept 10, 2010. The bears are out and about in Banff National Park. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
BANFF, Alta. -- The bears are out and about in Banff National Park.
Officials with Parks Canada say they had their first grizzly bear sighting on a remote camera on March 19.
"The bears are out," said Bill Hunt, manager of resource conservation with Banff National Park. "It's a high probability that it's bear No. 122."
No. 122 is a large, male grizzly also known as The Boss.
Parks Canada has been worried that spilled grain from a derailed train in the park on Feb. 28 would attract hungry grizzly bears emerging from hibernation to the tracks.
The Transportation Safety Board said 20 railcars from a Canadian Pacific Railway freight train went off the tracks west of the town of Banff.
No one was hurt and there were no dangerous goods. Ten of the derailed cars contained grain, including canola that spilled.
Hunt said they have dumped two roadkill carcasses in an area west of the spill site to keep the bears away from the grain.
The spill site has also been surrounded by electric fencing to keep wildlife away.
"They've got most of the bulk grain removed so now crews are vacuuming frantically trying to clean the forest floor," said Hunt. "They've got these debris piles ... that are mostly ballast and mud and snow with some grain mixed in."
"So far we haven't had any bears near the site, fortunately, but with bears active on the landscape, we're trying to get that last bit cleaned up as soon as possible."
Hunt said other bears will soon be out.
"We have very few black bears collared, but two of four black bears that we have collared have been showing activity in the last few days. One of those is near the town of Banff," he said.
"It's indicative that everyone's waking up right now."
Officials are reminding visitors to be aware of their surroundings, make noise, carry bear spray and keep dogs on leashes.