The seven-member Bow Valley wolf pack hanging out along the Bow Valley Parkway in December 2013.
Photograph by: Photo courtesy Amar Athwal
Around 7:30 a.m. on Monday, resource conservation officers from Lake Louise were called to the Bath Creek area on Highway 1 for reports of two wolves — one black-coloured and one grey-coloured — inside the wildlife fence.
“The grey wolf was struck by a car and was quite seriously injured,” said Brianna Burley, human-wildlife conflict specialist with Lake Louise, Yoho and Kootenay national parks. “It was pretty dramatic.
“It appeared to have a broken leg.”
It’s believed the adult wolves got inside the fence at the boundary of Banff and Yoho national parks, where it ends, and travelled for a few kilometres inside before one of them made its way on to the Trans-Canada Highway just west of the Highway 93 N. turnoff.
It’s been a tough year for wildlife on the highways in the mountain parks, with more than a dozen bears, several moose and a cougar being struck and killed already this year. A wolf pup was also hit, but it’s unknown whether it died.
Burley said they initially thought they would have to put the latest wolf down, but it was mobile and officers were able to haze it back on the other side of the fence.
“It moved itself into denser cover,” she said, noting they returned to check on it and they weren’t able to find the wolf.
She said it’s possible that the wolf could recover, but it’s difficult to know unless they have another confirmed sighting. If it dies, it would be a major loss for the frequently photographed wolf pack.
“A strike like this is always significant because it’s uncommon for wolves,” said Burley. “Every mortality is a huge impact.”
The black wolf was uninjured and hazed back to the other side of the fence by wildlife officers.
If you see the injured wolf, or any wolf, officers ask that you report it to Banff park dispatch at 403-762-1470. They also remind motorists to drive the speed limit, which is 90 kilometres/hour in the national parks.