Bear 148
Photo by rmoutlook.com

Banff grizzly who interrupted high school rugby practice will continue to roam free

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Bear 148 has been known to strike fear into the hearts of hikers in Banff National park, but the female grizzly is not a safety concern, according to Parks Canada.

The bear has “never, ever had any kind of contact incident with a person,” conservation officer Bill Hunt of Parks Canada told the CBC. Nevertheless, some visitors to the area have had frightening encounters with Bear 148. This past winter, three hikers and a dog came upon the grizzly, who continued to approach them when they backed away. One of the hikers, Kenzie Campbell, decided to let the dog off the leash, and when the dog ran away, the bear followed, giving the hikers an opportunity to run to safety.

Bear on rugby field of school with students nearby
On May 12, Bear 148 appeared in a rugby field near a Banff High School.

In April, a Canmore woman had a run-in with the bear while she was kick-sledding (a form of dogsledding). The bear followed the woman on her kick-sled. She stopped several times to yell and wave her arms, and the bear kept its distance, though it did continue to follow her until she reached the parking lot where her car was.

It is possible that the bear’s behaviour was due to the presence of dogs, not their human companions. According to Hunt, bears are sometimes curious and aggressive when they encounter dogs. However, he maintains that Bear 148 has so far not shown signs of aggression towards people.“She has literally hundreds of encounters every year with visitors and has not had a single contact charge or really negative encounter with people,” Hunt told Postmedia.

Bear 148 also made an appearance at a high school rugby practice last week, though she was not behaving aggressively. Parks Canada has said they will continue to monitor her.

Want to see her in her natural habitat (and not chasing anyone)? Check out this video from Parks Canada: