From grizzly bears to whales, British Columbia is known for its wildlife. And Vancouverites are blessed to be surrounded by a rainforest full of creatures rarely seen in other parts of the world, so tourism feels natural.
Unfortunately, many of them are also endangered, either because they have been hunted, killed by disease or left without their natural habitat. Don’t take them for granted and be sure to observe them safely when you see them.
Here are eight incredible endangered animals in British Columbia that you can try to find while you explore our beautiful province this summer.
A male Boreal Owl in the still one night in early spring in the Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia.
Jess Findlay pic.twitter.com/QLJPfcr0HT
— Africa Mia (@Sweet_Taylor777) April 12, 2021
WHO has the best birding in British Columbia? It’s hard to say, but there are still places where you can see this quirky little guy. Look for the aviaries where they live or bring your binoculars if you want to see them in their element. You can recognize them by their funny square heads, bright yellow eyes, and fluffy mottled feathers.
Do you have any idea how big the moose really are? They can get bigger than a car, and they’re strong as hell. The largest moose recorded to date was from Alaska and weighed over 1,800 pounds. This did not stop humans from hunting them and their populations suffered. Don’t get too close if you see one, but admire their majesty from afar and you’ll have a pet memory to cherish forever.
These giants may be nice, but they’re definitely not annoying. The natural habitat of grizzly bears is in British Columbia, but their numbers have grown alarmingly due to deforestation and human encroachment. The hunt didn’t help either, of course. If you can see them now, that’s a real luxury, and they’re well protected all over BC. Plus, their little faces are so cute! Two live together on Grouse Mountain, but there’s plenty more you can try and see with experts to guide you.
North Pacific right whale
Sightings are rare, but if you manage to see one of these huge whales skim the surface, you will be blown away. They are incredibly intelligent, with a brain that trumps a human’s and a large scowling mouth that they use to slurp up food. If you are very lucky you will see a baby during the breeding season.
The basking shark is the second largest of all sharks, smaller than whale sharks and are also filter feeders. By the middle of the 20th century, basking sharks were nearly eradicated. There have only been 6 confirmed sightings in British Columbia since 1996. If you see one, call 1-877-50-SHARK #shark week pic.twitter.com/AdRfK5baTd
— Physarum Connections (@PhysarumConnect) August 1, 2019
Okay, you probably won’t see this one while you’re on the go – six have only been seen since 1996 for sure – but it was too cool not to make the list. They have been hunted to near extinction, so if you see one, you are very lucky.
If you like adventurous activities like shark watching, it’s easy to recognize this shark because its mouth is always wide open. It basically swims in water and catches whatever comes in it. Goals.
Sakinaw Sockeye Salmon
The bright red and green colors of sockeye salmon are spectacular, and when they swim together, entire rivers burst into flashes of iridescence. It is incredible and tragic to know that they are among the endangered animals in British Columbia. Salmon season in British Columbia is always good if you can find a healthy ecosystem.
Dam, this animal is cool. Plus, they’re one of our national mascots, though they sometimes chew through our Wi-Fi cables. This cute Canadian creature is great fun to watch as it builds its dams, and there’s tons of places where you can still find it even though its species is endangered. Check out the ponds and lakes near the forests and listen for tail slapping and falling trees and you might be able to spot them nibbling.
western spotted skunk
The western spotted skunk apparently does a handstand to look more menacing, but only manages to look fabulous. It makes my morning pic.twitter.com/tEignGZan3
— Bethan L. Evans (@BethEvsTV) May 4, 2017
Not your stereotypical striped skunk, this western variant is covered in adorable spots! It looks like something out of a fairy tale or a Studio Ghibli movie, but it’s very real and very capable of vaporizing you if you startle it. He can also stand on his front legs to look taller and scarier, but that just makes them cuter. Try not to do this by moving slowly and staying away anyway.