For the first time this year, a motorist has been charged and is facing a fine after interacting with wildlife in a no-stopping zone in B.C.’s Kootenay National Park. His crime? Feeding french fries to a grizzly bear.
The no-stopping zone, a 11-kilometre span of highway where motorists are forbidden from stopping, was established in 2014 as an attempt to prevent motorists from feeding and interacting with wildlife. Clearly, however, there are those who can’t seem to help themselves, even when feeding wildlife means charges and a hefty fine—in this case, up to $25,000, the maximum for this type of offence.
The no-stopping zone is meant to help protect wildlife by ensuring wild animals don’t become accustomed to interacting with humans, and also to allow them to feed without being disturbed.
Parks Canada employee Tania Peters said the no-stopping zone was implemented for the safety of people and bears. “It is challenging for us to change the behaviour of wildlife, so it’s much more accessible to try to change the behaviour of people and our visitors,” she told the CBC.
Two people were charged last year for stopping in the no-stopping zone, with four formal warnings given. “Most motorists and visitors are super respectful of that no-stopping zone, but from time to time we do have to educate visitors,” said Peters.
The no-stop policy ends each year when wildlife moves out of the valley where the highway runs, which can happen at different times each year. To check up on the status of the zone, visit Parks Canada’s bulletins page.