One of Banff National Park's most famous mammals has been spotted. The Boss, a name bestowed on the grizzly bear, also known as Bear 122, appears to have awakened from his winter slumber, signalling that bear season is upon us.

Parks Canada officials confirmed that the grizzly was spotted on Monday, March 19.

"Bears are awake and active in Banff National Park. Bear activity will begin to increase within the national park, as Spring arrives.  Visitors and residents are reminded to be alert and show wildlife respect while recreating in Banff National Park," officials stated.

Parks officials added that wildlife encounters can happen at any time in Banff National Park, this is why officials are reminding everyone to keep safety top of mind and remember the following rules.

  • Make noise: Let bears know you are in the area.
    • Call out, clap, sing or talk loudly, especially near streams, dense vegetation and berry patches, on windy days, and in areas of low visibility. 
  • Always carry bear spray: Ensure it is accessible, and know how to use it before you head out on the trails.  
    • Bear spray can help deter other large mammals too such as cougars, wolves, coyotes, elk, deer, moose, and bison.
  • Watch for fresh bear signs: Tracks, droppings, diggings, torn-up logs and turned-over rocks are all signs that a bear has been in the area.
    • Leave the area if the signs are fresh.
  • Keep your dog on a leash at all times (it is the law) or leave it at home: 
    • Dogs can provoke defensive behaviour in bears.
  • Larger-size groups are less likely to have a serious bear encounter:
    • Parks officials recommend hiking in a tight group of four or more. Never let children wander.
  • Stay on official trails and travel during daylight hours.
  • If you come across a large dead animal, leave the area immediately and report it to park staff.

Officials are also reminding the public that to ensure the safety of wildlife and the public, there may be closures in the area, which are posted on the park's website

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