Officials in Banff National Park are investigating an apparent case of photographers baiting wolves with turkey and stew to lure the animals out into the open for pictures.
The Calgary Heraldreports that a wolf was spotted eating from a pile of human food alongside the road as photographers parked along the side of the road took pictures. None of the photographers on the scene claimed any knowledge of how the food got there.
Park officials believe the food was placed deliberately, but have not issued any citations at this time. The maximum fine for feeding wildlife is $25,000 CAD.
The Heraldquotes one local photographer who expressed outrage over the increasingly brazen tactics of so-called 'wildlife paparazzi:"
“I’m shocked and saddened, and . . . furious,” said John Marriott, a Canmore resident who’s been taking photos of wildlife for two decades. “If I had been at that scene, I would have gathered everything up and put it in the back of my truck.
“I have zero tolerance for that type of behavior.”
As the old adage goes, 'a fed wolf is a dead wolf.' If a normally skittish wolf grows accustomed to eating human food, the animal may grow bolder in approaching people, forcing rangers to destroy it. Banff officials have not had to put down a wolf in more than a decade.