The Canadian Rockies are wild in every sense of the word. Its landscape covers an expansive region of rugged backcountry trails and mountainous terrain juxtaposed against fragile protected ecosystems as well as the world-renowned Columbia Icefield. The Rockies elevation range, geology, geography, and climate serve as a safe habitat for a variety of species. Its one of the world’s finest unspoiled ecosystems. You are immersed in nature and can feel this is a special place. Not that you need to be an intrepid explorer (though you can definitely get away and be remote), quaint towns serve as perfect bases for spectacular National Parks, or even are set within Parks, like the almost fairy-tale town of Banff.
Each day we have been here, we feel like we have been hugged by the mountains. They are so close, large and envelop us from all angles. We are drawn in whether on foot or wheels.
It’s also chock-full of wildlife: Its local residents include grizzly bears, moose, wolves, foxes and elk, along with thousands of insects, and seemingly squirrels.
In fact it’s hard not to see wildlife in the Canadian Rockies. Animals roam roadsides in search of berries, so you can often spot them right from your vehicle window. While driving through Jasper and Banff National Park, we had to stop a few times to let mountain goats and caribou cross the road in front of us. Curvy, grass-covered overpasses along the Trans-Canada Highway enable wildlife to safely look for food and migrate during the breeding season. Large mammals—grizzly bears, wolves, and moose—prefer the overpass bridges, while black bears and cougars amble through nrrow underpasses. Bears love meadows, while elk enjoy nibbling aspen bark. You are bound to run into some of these creatures one way or another…
Joanne, from Parks canada, explained that sometimes people visit these places with a false sense of security. You don’t need to go hiking to encounter wildlife, you can be wallowing down Banff Avenues in Banff and see an Elk or even a grizzly!
So don’t try to get National Geographic- quality snapshots on your mobile phone. Our actions may reduce animal wilderness, our responsible behaviour affects the survival of wildlife and also helps to ensure your safety. Spotting wildlife is definitely one of the highlights of a trip around Canada National Parks but remember that approaching too closely threatens wild animal’s survival.
Tips for safe Wildlife Viewing
- keep a minimum of 3 bus lengths (30 metres) away from Elk, Deer, Moose and Bighorn Sheep;
- keep a minimum of 10 bus lengths (100 metres) away from Bears, Cougars and Wolves;
- Never approach or feed wildlife;
- Consider carrying bear spray.