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Grizzly bear spotted near Johnston Canyon

BANFF – It might be December, but that doesn’t mean much for male grizzly bears who are still out and about in Banff National Park. On Tuesday (Dec. 4), several hikers spotted a grizzly bear around 11:15 a.m. close to the Johnston Canyon waterfalls.
Split Lip Dan Rafla
Bear No. 136, known as Split Lip for a scar on his mouth, is still out and about.

BANFF  – It might be December, but that doesn’t mean much for male grizzly bears who are still out and about in Banff National Park.

On Tuesday (Dec. 4), several hikers spotted a grizzly bear around 11:15 a.m. close to the Johnston Canyon waterfalls.

“Both the hikers and the bear moved off the trail to avoid each other and the bear displayed no concerning behaviour,” said Jesse Whittington, a wildlife ecologist for Banff National Park.

He couldn’t confirm whether it was grizzly bear 122, also known as The Boss, which is usually the last bear to den for the winter and is still seen fairly regularly in the valley between Lake Louise and Banff.

“We do not know which bear this was, but it’s likely it was a male,” said Whittington. “Some of the larger males wait until late November early December to den.”

He said visitors should be prepared to see a grizzly bear at almost any time of the year because large grizzly bears are known to come out of their dens in late March early April.

Parks Canada issued a bear warning for the Great Divide Trail near Lake Louise on Nov. 16 after a grizzly was spotted frequenting the area.

Whittington reminded the public to always carry bear spray when hiking, travel in large groups and make noise.

Bear sightings can be reported to Banff Dispatch at 403-762-1470.





Paul Clarke

About the Author: Paul Clarke

Paul Clarke has spent the past four years working as a community news reporter in Jasper, Banff and Canmore.
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