British Columbia Wildlife: Wild at Heart
boasts wildlife viewing possibilities that are not to be believed. The province is home to more than 1,100 different wildlife species and some of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, with viewing opportunities available nearby no matter where you are in the province. Whether you’re hiking, boating or even driving BC’s highways, keep a look out for some of British Columbia’s best-known residents, including bighorn sheep, moose, mountain goats, black and grizzly bears, whales, dolphins and sea lions.
Where: Great Bear Rainforest
Found in the remote corners of north-western British Columbia, the white Kermode or spirit bear has long been part of the traditions and history of the local indigenous people. Located in the heart of the aptly names Great Bear Rainforest and only accessible by boat or air, the magnificent Princess Royal Island
offers visitors the chance to spot these beautiful white bears, known as moskgm’ol in the local first language.
The Kermode bear is not an albino or polar bear, rather a pale variation of the black bear population found on the island. The best time to see them is from late summer into autumn, when both they and the populations of grizzly bears are drawn to rivers where salmon are returning to their hatching grounds.
Where: Great Bear Rainforest
Home to half of more than half of Canada’s grizzly bear population, the province of British Columbia offers some of the best opportunities to view these animals in their natural habitat, as they fish rivers and shallow waters for spawning salmon in the summer months. The Great Bear Rainforest
, which stretches 400 kilometres along the coast of British Columbia, is home to the planet’s largest intact temperate rainforest, providing a diverse ecosystem for grizzly bears to thrive among the maze of coastal inlets and valets.
This remote location is accessible by float plane, and guests stay in small, floating lodges in the rainforest to give them the best access for bear spotting. Morning and evening viewing sessions, where guests watch from small boats are tailored around the activities and movements of the bears, as they bound up the river after salmon. Otherwise, time is spent in elevated viewing platforms, called hides, watching the grizzlies grazing on grasses and foraging for berries.
Orcas, grey and humpback whales
Where: Haida Gwaii Archipelago
Offering the most diverse marine wildlife in Canada, the Haida Gwaii archipelago
on the northernmost coast of British Columbia is often referred to as the Galapagos of the North. Orcas can be found near the islands year-round, while humpback and grey whales migrate between Mexico and the Bering Sea from May to October, to just name a few of the twenty species of whales and dolphins that have been recorded in these waters. The marine protected area of Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve (the name translates to ‘islands of beauty’) is home to more than a hundred islands, approximately 1.5 million seabirds, over 6,800 species of flora and fauna and an annual spring plankton bloom that provides a rich food source for migrating whales, as well as birdlife and other marine mammals.
The best way to discover the wildlife of these magnificent islands is aboard a small ship or sailing vessel, cruising the waters in search of whales and visiting ancient Haida villages for a unique cultural insight into he indigenous communities who still live in this region.
Need more inspiration to discover British Columbia's wildlife in Canada? Find our suggested itineraries here
or check out our new Canada, Alaska & High Arctic Tailor-Made Collection
to discover more in this spectacular region. Alternatively, enquire now
, call (AU) 1300 295 049 or (NZ) 0800 238 368 or see your travel agent to custom make your own tailor-made itinerary.
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