Wildlife flight guidelines

Banff National Park

Banff National Park is home to bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and other wildlife which occupy treeless, alpine terrain and are known to flee from low flying aircraft, including Unmanned Air Vehicles (drones). Many in-park, low flying flights occur over alpine areas which can disturb all wildlife, especially mountain goats and bighorn sheep. Prolonged or repeated helicopter presence may displace wildlife from important habitat, elevate stress levels, reduce time spent feeding, nursing, and resting, and can increase risk of mortality. Helicopter flights have stronger effects in the spring when lambs and kids are born, and in the winter when food ability is decreased and travel is more difficult. 

Mountain goats live in or near steep, rocky terrain which they use to escape predators. They are sensitive to low flying aircraft and will flee by scaling sheer cliffs.

Bighorn sheep prefer steep-sided gravel ridges and steep grassy slopes. They escape predators by running quickly along steep terrain for long distances. 

The best goat habitat occurs where steep cliffs meet open vegetated slopes

Following these flight guidelines will help minimize wildlife disturbances. 

Stay far

Fly more than 1000m from identified habitat. If you must land in wildlife habitat, descend and ascend as quickly as possible. Goats and sheep are most sensitive to disturbance when they are with young in May and June, and during the winter, when food availability is reduced and travel is more difficult. Give them more than 1000m during these times.

Stay over trees

The sound of aircraft is muffled when flying over treed areas. Fly over the middle of valleys if possible

Cross wildlife areas at right angles

If you must cross treeless wildlife habitat, do it at right angles rather than along a cliff line (goat habitat). Cross ridges at right angles at the narrowest point available.


Date modified :