British Columbia’s vast swaths of temperate rainforests and rich marine environments offer some of the finest wildlife viewing in North America. The northwestern Canadian province of British Columbia covers an enormous 944,735 square kilometres, much of which remains a vast forested wilderness, home to perhaps the greatest populations of grizzly and black bears in the world.
In remote parts of the Great Bear Rainforest the rare, ghostly white spirit bear also finds refuge. Coastal wolf, mountain lion (puma), beaver, elk, American marten, river otter, mink and racoon also thrive in the British Columbian wilderness. Besides its lush forests and rugged mountains, British Columbia’s scenic coastline provides superlative cetacean viewing and has been dubbed the orca (killer whale) capital of the world for its reliable sightings of these apex predator “wolves of the sea”.
Humpback and grey whales, super pods of Pacific white-sided dolphins, Dall’s porpoises, huge Steller’s sea lions and adorable sea otters can also be found along the wild British Columbian coast. The region plays host to one of the world’s most exciting and celebrated wildlife spectacles: the annual salmon run which takes place between August and October. This natural phenomenon, in which thousands of adult salmon migrate from the sea up ancestral breeding rivers to their spawning grounds, attracts impressive gatherings of hungry grizzly and black bears. Intrepid visitors are rewarded with excellent wildlife action as magnificent grizzly and black bears stalk, dive and desperately chase as many salmon as they can.
British Columbia’s sheltered and calm fjords, channels and lakes also make it the perfect destination for exploration by kayak and canoe, a thrilling and intimate way to watch its wildlife and enjoy its beautiful landscapes. There is plenty of interest too for those intrigued by anthropology, learning about the First Nation cultures and history, as well as modern day vibrant cities such as Vancouver. A wildlife holiday to British Columbia combines many of the planet’s most charismatic species with exploration of some of Earth’s last remaining temperate wilderness.