Great Canadian Parks / British Columbia

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The Parks / British Columbia / Yoho National Park



 


 


 

Wildlife in the park is both abundant and observable. Elk, moose, deer, wolf, and the more elusive Canadian lynx make their home in the park. The Eastern Slope Grizzly Bear Project strives to protect the threatened existence of this truly magnificent creature. The largest of living carnivores, grizzly bears can tower to an intimidating height of eight feet when standing upright on their hind legs. Commonly known as Silvertips, the Rocky Mountain variety has long hairs along the shoulders and back that are frosted with white, thus giving a grizzled appearance. Although they are often seen eating berries and roots, they are quite carnivorous in the park region, hunting moose, elk, mountain sheep and goats, or feeding on the vulnerable populations of breeding salmon in the summer. Historically common on the Great Plains prior to the arrival of European settlers, who drove them west out of much of their former range, grizzly bear numbers have dropped dramatically since the turn of the century. Logging, mining, road construction, resorts, and golf courses have all encroached on suitable bear habitat and today they are seen mainly in tundra and alpine meadows. The real danger of attack from this animal is often exaggerated. In general, they attempt to avoid human contact unless startled at close quarters with young or engrossed in a search for food. Certain parts of the Lake O'Hara area trails are subject to seasonal closures in order to protect grizzly bear habitat and reduce human/bear encounters. Once plentiful in all major rivers flowing from the eastern slopes of the Rockies, loss of habitat and over-fishing has resulted in a significant decline in bull trout populations over the last 20 years; nevertheless, controlled fishing is allowed in the park. In Yoho∆s high alpine meadows, the rare water pipit, horned lark, grey-crowned rosy finch and the white-tailed ptarmigan are all stalked by avid birdwatchers. Two aquatic species, the dipper, which dives for its prey in the icy mountain rivers, and the harlequin duck, are both rare species. Grassland falcons, hummingbirds, jays and nutcrackers are frequently seen and migrating warblers, hawks and eagles visit the park to seek food and cover on the forested slopes.

 

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