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The Basics - What to Know


Seeing wildlife in its natural habitat is a very special experience. As a national park visitor, you share this natural area with wildlife that depend on it for their survival. It is important to know how your actions and behaviours affect wildlife.


Do not disturb wildlife. Give wild animals space (stay at least 100 metres away - approximately one football field), by not approaching too closely for a photograph or a better look. Bears, moose and other wildlife may react aggressively if they feel threatened by you or your pet.

Do not feed wildlife. It is illegal to feed wildlife in a national park. Wildlife find their healthiest food in their natural environment. Once they become accustomed to being fed by people, they stop looking for their natural foods and lose their fear of humans. These animals, no longer "wild", are a threat to public safety.

By understanding more about the wildlife in the national park you are visiting, you can help reduce the likelihood of an unpleasant encounter, and at the same time, help protect wildlife populations. Talk to park staff to know more or click on the link below.

Keep the Wild in Wildlife

Parks Canada Staff Tips

The best way to watch wildlife is from a distance, and binoculars will make animals seem much closer. You’ll see them behaving naturally when they don’t know you’re around. (Tip from staff at Kluane National Park Reserve)

Food and Wildlife

One difference you should be aware of while camping is that you will need to store your food and dispose of it carefully. Usually, wild animals have no cause to approach humans. However, wild animals such as raccoons, squirrels and bears are attracted by odours from food, grease, garbage, cooking stoves, and empty pet food bowls so you need to know what to do with these items.

Store all of your food, food-related items and pet food inside a closed, hard-sided vehicle or special bear-resistant container. Coolers, boxes, cans, tents and soft-sided campers are not animal-resistant!

Never cook in, or near, your tent or tent-trailer. Dispose of wastewater from cooking or dishwashing in washrooms or at a dumping station. Clean up promptly after meals.

Stash your trash! Garbage should be placed in the park's bear-proof garbage containers. If you store garbage at your site, keep it in a vehicle or hard-sided trailer. Keep your camping equipment, tent and tent-trailer clean and free of food odours.

By being proactive on how you store and dispose of your food and waste, you can greatly decrease the chance of attracting any wild visitors.

Many of our campgrounds have a "Bare Campsite" program in place. A special effort is being made by park staff and campers to ensure that no wildlife attractants are ever left unattended anywhere at these campgrounds. The "Bare Campsite" program is in place for your safety, and to help keep the wildlife in our national parks alive and wild. For more information, please consult our "Bare Campsite" program leaflet (PDF, 883 Kb).

Check out the video to learn more:

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Remember: If you are unsure just ask one of our friendly campground attendants and they will be happy to assist.