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Peacock on the loose in Jasper National Park

Peter Shokeir | editor@fitzhugh.ca

A peacock of unknown origins has been spotted running around the Jasper townsite.

The animal was spotted in the Cabin Creek area over the weekend and near the Lobstick Lodge on July 4.

Parks Canada says it is not not aware of how the peacock came to Jasper National Park or whether it was accidentally or deliberately released.

Neil McInnis, spokesperson for the Jasper Field Unit, reported that non-native wildlife, such as agricultural animals and domestic pets, can accidentally find their way into the park through unintended escapes and illegal releases.

“The release of foreign species and domestic animals into the national park, however, is illegal and poses potential unintended consequences for the ecological integrity of the park,” McInnis wrote in a July 5 email.

“Peacocks and other domestic birds and livestock may carry diseases and parasites which do not naturally occur in Jasper National Park. Introducing this bird and other species can have unintended negative consequences for park ecosystems.”

Parks Canada will monitor and attempt to capture the peacock, and officials have consulted with animal care specialists with experience in handling semi-domestic birds.

“If this peacock can be captured quickly, it will be relocated to a safe location, such as a wildlife centre or a zoo,” McInnis added.

Parks Canada is reminding the public that the introduction of any animals in the park is illegal.

Unusual animal sightings can be reported to Parks Canada dispatch at 780-852-6155.

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