CANMORE – Canmore RCMP suspect that a number of youth may have startled and chased elk onto the Tran-Canada Highway on April 27, resulting in seven animals being killed after being struck by a semi-truck.
Sgt. Stan Andronyk said an investigation into the collision between the tractor-trailer and the elk herd on the highway has uncovered that a number of youth came across the elk near the highway that night.
"Information has been received that a number of youth came across the elk near the highway," Andronyk wrote in a press release. "Members of this group yelled at and chased the animals, who ran onto Highway 1 shortly before the collision occurred."
He said it does not appear that the youth had the intention to force the animals onto the road, or cause a collision. However, Andronyk said the incident is an example of the unintended consequences that can occur when people "choose to harass/bother wildlife."
As a result, the RCMP have reached out to local schools in the area to provide education and messaging about appropriate behaviour while interacting with wildlife.
The incident occurred in the eastbound lanes of the TCH between the pedestrian underpass and Three Sisters Mountain Village interchange at approximately 9:20 p.m.
In total, 10 elk have died in three vehicle collisions on the Trans-Canada Highway near Canmore since Feb. 28.
The situation has re-ignited calls in the community and from conservation groups for appropriate wildlife mitigation on the highway east of gates for Banff National Park.