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Officials: Derailed Banff train may attract hungry grizzlies

Saturday, March 2nd 2019, 6:00 pm - A veritable 'bear buffet' has spilled out of a derailed train in Alberta.

Parks Canada officials are cautioning that the site of a freight train derailment in Banff National Park may become the favourite picnic spot for the park's grizzly bear population in coming weeks.

(SEE ALSO: Grizzly bears wake up, surprise skiers in Kananaskis Country)

The incident saw twenty cars leave the tracks last Thursday afternoon west of the town Banff, Alta., ten of which were loaded with grain. Six of those have reportedly spilled some product.

With the park's grizzly population about to emerge from hibernation, Parks Canada is concerned the spill will attract hungry bears.

"We can anticipate grizzly bears to be emerging in the next two to four weeks and they will be attracted to the spilled canola," Parks Canada said in a statement Friday, adding that the spill will need to be cleaned up "quickly and thoroughly."

The agency says electric fencing will be part of the clean-up strategy, with the aim of keeping the bears well clear of the spill area. A study from 2002 lists 'highway and railway mortatlities' as being responsible for about 20 per cent of grizzly deaths in Banff and Yoho National Parks.

According to the Calgary Herald, a spokesman for the Transportation Safety Board said the train derailed at a remote site, not easily accessible by the public. Parks Canada has closed part of the Bow Valley Parkway near the derailment site until further notice. The parkway sees annual seasonal restrictions on travel related to wildlife, including large carnivores like grizzlies.

Sources: Calgary Herald | International Association for Bear Research and Management |


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