FIELD – A female wolf has been hit and killed on the Trans-Canada Highway in Yoho National Park.
Parks Canada officials said the wolf was hit about one kilometre west of the community of Field on the morning of Jan. 10.
“The young female wolf was part of a pack known to move throughout Yoho National Park,” said Suzanne White, a spokesperson for Lake Louise, Yoho and Kootenay field unit in an email.
“To our knowledge, this is the first human-caused wolf mortality in Yoho National Park in 2023.”
Parks Canada has a monitoring program that collects information on wildlife in a variety of ways, such as physical observations by staff and visitors, winter wildlife tracking, remote cameras and GPS collars.
White said this information helps Parks Canada better understand how wildlife use habitat within the park.
She said Parks Canada is currently aware of one wolf pack travelling through Yoho National Park.
“This winter the wolves have been observed regularly travelling through the Kicking Horse Valley,” she said.
“Parks Canada has two wolves in this pack collared to track their movements. Opportunistic observations indicate the pack has eight or more individuals.”
Local wildlife advocate and wildlife photographer John Marriott said the death of this female wolf points to the urgent need for further mitigation on the rest of the Trans-Canada Highway through the Rocky Mountain parks.
“This Yoho stretch needs to be fenced as soon as possible both to mitigate wildlife and human deaths,” he said.
“Right now it’s almost impossible for a wolf pack to establish permanently in Yoho because they simply can’t stop getting killed on the highway and the railway.”
According to Parks Canada, there was one known human-caused wolf mortality in Yoho National Park in 2022 – a rail-strike on Jan. 16.
In Kootenay National Park, there were three known human-caused wolf deaths on Highway 93 South.
A young-of-year wolf was struck and killed on the highway north of the Floe Lake trailhead on Oct. 1. On Sept. 19, a young-of-year wolf was struck and killed one km north of the Numa Falls trailhead. Around May 18, an adult female wolf was struck and killed south of the Numa Falls trailhead.
Drivers are reminded to observe speed limits, and to drive with caution in the early morning and evening hours. Please report wildlife incidents to Parks Canada Dispatch at 403-762-1470.
“Parks Canada team members work hard to reduce human-caused wildlife mortality,” said White. “Keeping wildlife wild is a shared responsibility – we all have a role to play.”