Bochum (ots) – Majestic and powerful, but also playful and sometimes just cuddly: wild animals are fascinating. If you want to meet them in the wild, you will find the best conditions in Canada. There are no less than 80,000 animal species (https://wwf.ca/wildlife/#:~:text=Canada%20is%20home%20to%20about,caribou,%20polar%20bear%20and%20narwhal.) in Mapleland, including moose, beaver, bison, killer whale and grizzly bear. Some specimens are not seen anywhere else in the world: According to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, more than 300 animal and plant species are uniquely Canadian (https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/23b1ba2f0e2e46ce9a8c27412f414fc1). Many of these animal species have only small ranges and are therefore threatened. Parks Canada supports the rescue of endangered species through many conservation programs. When it comes to wildlife conservation, Canada is a world leader.
One of Canada’s most recognizable animals is the beaver, and the history of maple country is inseparable from the rodent. In the 18th century, beaver hats were all the rage in European salons. The fur trade (https://indigenouspeoplesatlasofcanada.ca/article/fur-trade/) proved so lucrative that merchants and corporations like Sir William Alexander and the Hudson’s Bay Company immortalized the large-toothed rodent on coats of arms, coins and postage stamps. Trade in the coveted furs was only made possible by alliances with the natives. They were seasoned trappers and traders who knew the country and its ancient canoe routes inside out. Today, the beaver is the official symbol of Canada (https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/services/official-symbols-canada.html), and thanks to reduced demand and numerous conservation efforts, this adorable animal is thriving across the country.
The caribou (https://wwf.ca/species/caribou/) is also a well-known species in maple country. Canadian reindeer live mainly in the Arctic, but also in boreal regions and mountains. The woodland caribou – one of which is featured on the Canadian 25-cent coin – is the best-known subspecies due to its distinctive antlers. Barren-ground caribou, on the other hand, ensured the survival of Aboriginal peoples with their fur and meat. Unlike the beaver, the caribou is an endangered species. In October 2020, the governments of Alberta and British Columbia signed a conservation deal (https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/news/2020/10/canada-and-alberta-reach-caribou-conservation-deal.html). Organizations such as the Canada Wildlife Conservation Company (https://www.wcscanada.org/) are fighting more and more to protect vital forests for the forest caribou (https://thenarwhal.ca/bc-suspends-old-growth-logging-caribou-habitat/?fbclid=iWar1Ucs grytybuy2qwevmkzh2gywcakrizjxfnuhw6bww6uhv). U), and in British Columbia, the Rainforest Conservation Foundation (https://www.raincoast.org/troph-hunting/) purchases hunting licenses from hunting tourism providers to end commercial trophy hunting.
While there is always room for improvement, Canada remains a world leader in wildlife conservation. Parks Canada, for example, supports numerous initiatives to save endangered species (https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/nature/science/especes-species/reussite-success), including killer whales (https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/nature/science/especes-species/epaulard-killerwhale), bison (https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/banff/info/gestion -management/bison) and wolves (https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/nature/science/especes-species/reussite-success/itm11e). Additionally, national and provincial park activities in 2020 ensured increased public interest in nature conservation and the fight against climate change (https://www.thespec.com/opinion/contributors/2020/12/21/2020-may-be-canadas-most-important-year-for-nature-conservation.html).
Although wildlife conservation is a global responsibility, indigenous peoples protect 80% of the planet’s biodiversity, despite making up less than 5% of the world’s population.). According to Murray Sinclair (https://www.macleans.ca/opinion/indigenous-leadership-is-crucial-to-protecting-the-planet/), former chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, “Indigenous peoples have always lived in balance with ecosystems, preserving the treasures of nature for future generations”.
Meeting wild animals is undoubtedly a particularly touching experience. There are many experiences from coast to coast in Canada that offer unique encounters. Here are some highlights:
Meet grizzly bears, black bears and Kermode bears: Canada is known for its bears, and British Columbia is the best place to see them. There are many organized tours (https://www.hellobc.com/stories/top-10-places-to-spot-bears-in-bc) around the province where experienced guides lead to unforgettable encounters with brown, black and white bears. Some of the best bear spots include the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Sanctuary (https://www.grizzlytour.com/) just north of Prince Rupert. Canada’s first designated grizzly bear sanctuary is home to 50-60 of the great bears. Khutzerymateen is part of the Great Bear Rainforest. One of the last of its kind in the world, this rainforest is home to grizzly bears, black bears and the rare Kermode bears. Also called “spirit bears” by the natives, these animals are actually black bears, but their fur ranges from caramel to almost white. The place Klemtu (https://www.spiritbear.com/) is the starting point for exciting tours through wild fjord landscapes to these white black bears. A little further south, dozens of grizzlies can be seen: in Knight Inlet (https://www.grizzlytours.com/) opposite Vancouver Island, it is not uncommon to see several dozen of these magnificent animals during the same tour. The best time is fall. Then, viewing platforms overlook spawning grounds where grizzlies really feed before hibernating.
Get up close to the whales: Quebec’s Banc-des-Américains Marine Sanctuary in the Gulf of St. Lawrence (off the Gaspé Peninsula between Forillon National Park and the UNESCO Global Geopark Percé) teems with marine life. Some of the native animals – including some whales and various species of catfish – are threatened with extinction. The creation of the sanctuary is now contributing to the recovery of the endangered species. Overall, maritime Quebec offers some of the best whale watching activities in the world. Route 138, which runs along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, is even nicknamed the “whale-route” (https://www.quebecmaritime.ca/fr/road-trips-and-getaways/la-route-des-baleines) because of the sightings of a dozen species of whales at many points of view. Visitors can get up close to the gentle giants on guided kayak or inflatable boat tours. The Tadoussac Marine Mammal Interpretation Center provides detailed information on the living environment of whales.
Endless Bird Watching: Situated on the bird’s flight route over the Pacific, British Columbia offers bird watching at its best. On the BC Bird Trail (https://bcbirdtrail.ca/), which winds through forests, mountains, wetlands and estuaries, they can observe more than 500 species of birds in the province. In Calgary, Alberta, the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and Nature Center (https://www.calgary.ca/csps/parks/locations/se-parks/inglewood-bird-sanctuary.html) has been home to migratory birds for over 80 years, and Newfoundland and Labrador is home to over 350 bird species (https://www.newfoundlandlabrador.com/things-to-do/birdwatching). , including birds of prey and seabirds. If you want to see the pretty puffin, the best thing to do is to visit the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve (https://www.gov.nl.ca/eccm/natural-areas/wer/r-wbe/) or visit the Cape Bonavista Lighthouse Provincial Historic Site. With any luck, icebergs and whales will appear in the photo when the little planes with funny clown faces are photographed.
Night with the Wolves: From controlling deer and elk populations to dispersing nutrients into the carcasses of their prey, wolves play an important role in maintaining healthy ecosystems. This and much more about these often misunderstood animals can be learned by visitors to the Canadian Wolf Enclosure. In Quebec, Parc Oméga (https://www.parcomega.ca/fr/) offers a 12-kilometre self-guided safari to see moose, bison, wolves, bears and foxes. If you want to stay longer, you can stay in the luxurious Wolf Cabin (https://www.parcomega.ca/en/accommodation/), which offers a view of the wolves. In Haliburton, Ontario, the Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Preserve (https://www.haliburtonforest.com/) provides information on the social behavior of wolves as they roam a six-acre forest area. And in Golden, BC, the Northern Lights Wolf Center (https://northernlightswildlife.com/) organizes photo hikes in addition to family visits.
Please smile, (wildlife) camera: If you can’t visit Canada’s wild animals in person, wildlife cameras bring the experiences closer. On Grouse Mountain in Vancouver, British Columbia, infrared cameras can show two grizzly bears, Grinder and Coola, in hibernation (https://www.grousemountain.com/web-cams/bear-den-cam). As soon as the two wake up in the spring, you can switch to the camera at the swimming pond (https://www.grousemountain.com/web-cams/bear-pond-cam). In Hudson Bay near Churchill, Manitoba, boat-mounted cameras (https://explore.org/livecams/beluga-whales/beluga-boat-cam-underwater) track belugas above and below water. Manitoba’s Wapusk National Park even allows animal lovers to peek inside polar bear maternity wards. And in Val Marie, Saskatchewan, cameras capture live bison at their waterhole (https://explore.org/livecams/bison/plains-bison-grasslands-national-park-cam-1) migrating through the grasslands of Grasslands National Park. Additional video footage of Canada’s animals is available on the Parks Canada website (https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/nature/science/controle-monitoring/cameras).
Destination Canada Proudly [re]presented by The Destination Office KIRSTEN BUNGART SENIOR PUBLICIST/ PR & MEDIA MANAGER Lindener Str. 128, D-44879 Bochum, Germany [email protected]
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