For any wildlife enthusiast, spotting a bear in its natural habitat tops the list of all-time great animal encounters. Like the regal lion of the African Sahara, they are the kings of the Canadian forests and no Canada wildlife holiday is complete without a sighting. |
While the country’s spectacular terrain is home to a number of species, I’ve created a short guide to the big three: the Grizzly, Polar and Black bear. You’ll find interesting facts as well as useful tips on where to find these furry beasts.
The original mama bear: this familiar species earns its somewhat menacing title from the way it protects its cubs with fierce aggression. This, and its tendency to be more aggressive than others, has earned it the Latin name, Ursus arctos horribilis, translating to ‘terrifying bear’. It is larger than most of its cousins, which is demonstrated by its intimidating height when standing on two legs. Sadly, due to hunting and threats to its habitat that have grown over the years, this beautiful beast is now considered endangered.
Where to Spot Them
If you’re keen to witness the great grizzly in all its terrifying glory, I can recommend a visit to Tweedsmuir Park Lodge in the Bella Coola Valley. Try to plan a trip during the autumn months when the spawning salmon can be seen leaping up the Atnarko River, attracting an impressive number of grizzlies seeking a tasty meal. It really is an unmissable sight!
Considered one of the most spectacular mammals in not only Canada but the world, the magnificent Polar bear is the largest living species. The Ursus maritimus is characterised by its pristine white fur coat that allows it to blend in with its arctic surroundings. Amazingly, the skin beneath this furry camouflage is actually black, and the transparent hairs act as a guard and layer of insulation.
Known as ‘the ever-wandering one’ in Inuit poetry, these solitary beasts have become ambassadors for the terrible effects of climate change. Due to rising temperatures and melting ice caps, the population of these beautiful creatures is in decline as their icy home is threatened.
Where to Spot Them
For an unforgettable Canada wildlife holiday I highly recommend including Churchill in your itinerary. Known as the ‘Polar Bear Capital of the World’, you’ll have an excellent chance of sighting one of these emperors of the ice caps.
These black beauties, which actually vary in colour from soft auburn to striking jet black, are fairly common and can be found all over North America. Smaller than their relatives and armed with rounded claws, these creatures are excellent climbers. Seeing one scaling a tree with such swift grace is an impressive sight, I assure you.
This fascinating species also exhibits some interesting behaviour that is a treat to witness. You might hear one communicating to its family with humming and clicking, or you could see one rubbing itself against the tree bark to mark its territory.
Where to Spot Them This common species is relatively easy to find, living in almost every Canadian province, but for nature lovers, a trip to the Pacific Rim is a must.
With all this, and so much more, it’s time to lace up your hiking boots and plan your dream Canada wildlife holiday!
John Dixon is an experienced world traveller and the Managing Director of Prestige Holidays. For over 30 years, he has been providing luxury holidays all over the Mediterranean, as well as holidays in Bermuda, Croatia and many other destinations around the globe. John tries to visit each of the destinations regularly in order to ensure the quality of his properties, and as a result is an expert on topics as diverse as the best Italian agriturismi and Canada wildlife holiday tips. He has a taste for the finer things in life and has an interest in arts and history.
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