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How far should you stay away from a grizzly? Banff visitor tries for a closeup photo

How far should you stay away from a grizzly? Banff visitor tries for a closeup photo

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by July 5, 2017 News

Photographer Ray Blanchard often sets out to mountain parks to film wildlife in their natural habitat, and knows how much care he should exercise in the process.

So when he saw a grizzly bear behind a bush along the Bow Valley Parkway, he set up his camera on a tripod about 70 meters away.

The Calgary-area photographer was accompanied by several dozen people who had also gathered to look at the grizzly bear. But they were all caught by surprise when one onlooker marched straight towards the bear, stopping just a few meters, trying to get a close-up photo.

While Blanchard says he’s seen tourists get too close for comfort to wildlife, this incident was risky because grizzlies can be “very unpredictable.”

(c) Ray Blanchard

Park officials eventually cleared the area, but many onlookers persisted and refused to leave.

For the photographer, this presents a worrying concern.

“I’d hate to see a beautiful animal like that destroyed because of people’s stupidity,” he says on

So how far away should you stay from wildlife? Last month, Parks Canada released a helpful infographic to launch its public awareness drive throughout Banff.

Taking photos of elk, deer, bighorn sheep or mountain goats? Stay 30 meters away (about 3 bus lengths).

For bears, wolves and cougars, stay even further – about 100 meters away.

Visitors are also reminded that it is illegal to feed, entice or disturb any wildlife in a national park.



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