National Park

Trapping in Jasper National Park and Removing Bears from Townsite

After trying a number of hazing strategies, authorities will begin trapping and removing approximately 10 bears from the Jasper townsite in Jasper National Park.

For several weeks now, at least 10 black bears have been – as Jasper National Parks officials say – “using” Jasper and the abundant fruit in green spaces and city yards. The number includes two mothers with cubs.

The animals were “reluctant” to leave and return “almost immediately” after being moved out of town, the park said in a statement Thursday.

“The continued presence of bears in the townsite, often in residential yards within meters of people, is an unacceptable risk to the safety of visitors and residents.”

Over the next few days, Parks Canada staff will be setting up live traps and traps borrowed from Banff National Park that are intended to trap mothers and young together.

“The bears will be humanely captured using live traps and taken to remote areas of the park,” the park said, noting that the strategy was not guaranteed to work.

“Trapping and relocating bears is not always successful. In some cases, bears will return for these easy and reliable food sources. If this happens, Parks Canada staff may be required to destroy the “problem bears” that continue to inhabit the townsite.

“Parks Canada needs the help of residents and visitors to try to avoid this situation.”

A poor berry season encourages bears to find easy food sources in town, according to a park resource conservation officer.

Since late August, Parks Canada has been asking residents to reduce the amount of trash accessible to animals, remove fruit-bearing plants from their yard, or remove fruit from plants.

Jasper National Park renewed that call on Thursday and asked residents to stay away from any bear traps they might encounter in their neighborhood. Locations that have a trap will be marked.

Bear sightings should be reported to 780-852-6155.

Non-residents are currently discouraged from visiting Jasper National Park, as a nearby 5,500 hectare wildfire destroyed some of the town’s power lines. Jasper has been relying on generator power since the weekend. Thursday, some residents had been without power for more than 80 hours.