Banff National Park, Alberta
I never get tired of seeing the wildlife around the Canadian Rockies. It doesn’t matter if I am cruising down Banff Avenue to pick up a coffee and a DVD or driving through Jasper – there is always an incredible array of wildlife to gaze at. Animals just like locals love Banff and its surrounds. The snow coated sentinels that are the Canadian Rockies is called home by hundreds of varieties of animals. Predictably the numbers aren’t quite as high as they once were but nonetheless it is hard to pass a day without seeing some really unique wildlife.
Other than me, the large mammals are what people really want to see – though sometimes maybe not alone while walking. Grizzlies and Black bears both stroll around the hills of the Rockies. They once roamed North America freely but the white settlers understandably became a bit frightened by the sight of this 700lb monster eating berries from bushes. They were hunted extensively and now there is only around 100 left up in these parts. The coyote is pretty common up here too. They are opportunistic carnivores who feed off everything from carrion to insects and berries. They are not the best looking animals around and are sometimes called the Barbara Streisand of the Canadian Rockies – though only by me.
The hoofed animals generally make the most out of their hooves living high up the slopes. Bighorn sheep are perhaps most common as they come down to our level to lick some salt from rocks and the road. The pure White Mountain goats are a big favorite with tourists as they skip dangerously from rock to rock like a drunken teenager on his first holiday. If you spend one day only looking for animals, it is extremely likely that you will stumble across some elk and deer. They have no fear of humans and seem to pose for photographs – very vain indeed!
Outside these big boys, there is a huge collection of small mammals that go quietly about their business. Squirrels dash around you like pigeons do in cities. There are over 300 species of birds to choose from for the bird nuts out there. The smaller guys always get overshadowed by so many charismatic big mammals but they don’t seem to mind so much! Coming to the Canadian Rockies is so much more than just shopping in Banff, skiing in Lake Louise and hiking Jasper. It is a place where you come and share your temporary home with some of the world’s greatest creatures…and me.