Jasper Park News

Living with wildlife – how you can help!

Living with wildlife – how you can help!
Parks Canada

One of the amazing experiences of living in Jasper National Park is the opportunity to see wild animals living free in their natural world. Given the size of Jasper, the variety of activities and over two million visitors every year, it takes a conscious effort from each of us to make sure we do not harm the very thing that makes the park special: its wild nature.

As you explore the park in your own way, be it by foot, on wheels, or by air, keeping your eyes open and senses tuned to your surroundings can keep both you and the wildlife around you safe.  This is the time of year to pay special attention to elk in the park.  Keep in mind how protective we as humans are of our children and remember that is also true of the animal world.

Elk calving season is now upon us. Elk calve from mid-May till the end of June. Elk mothers are very protective of their young and may behave aggressively at this time of year. If you run into elk, watch for the following behaviours as signs to steer clear:


•        staring intently;

•        folding their ears forward;

•        raising the hair on their rumps;

•        grinding their teeth;

•        curling their lips; and

•        following or circling around people on trails.


To avoid an elk encounter:

•        Travel in a group on trails and carry a walking stick, pepper spray or an umbrella for protection

•        Watch for single cow elk. She could be staking out a calving spot or have a calf already, and won’t re-join the

          herd until the calf is at least 10 days old.

•        If you see a calf elk immediately leave the area – the cow elk is not far away.  

•        Stay back at least 30 metres, and preferably 100 metres, from elk