Great Canadian Parks / Newfoundland

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The Parks / Newfoundland & Labrador / Terra Nova National Park



 

The variety of wild animal life is limited, mainly because the 18 kilometre Straits of Belle Isle, an effective barrier to most species, separate Newfoundland from the mainland. The Newfoundland caribou, a unique sub-species, the largest in North America, once migrated across the island in thousands, but is now seen only occasionally in the vicinity of the park. Conversely, the moose population, introduced in 1878 and again in 1904, has escalated to an estimated 90 000 animals. Populations of snowshoe rabbit and red squirrel have experienced a similar boom, but the wolf is gone. Lynx, it is believed, may exist in the park in sufficient numbers to indicate hope for their survival. Black bear, red fox, beaver and mink thrive in the swampy fens. Terra Nova is one of the few places the pine marten can still be found. With a population of about 300, there is fear that loss of habitat and snaring may have pushed the marten very close to extinction. One of only 14 species native to the island, they have probably resided here since the last glaciation, developing into a sub-species not found anywhere else in the world. The unbearable anticipation of whale watching comes as a consequence of the prospect of seeing a 30 tonne humpback jump right out of the water or a school of pilot whale swim past your boat. In the waters off the park, minke, fin and porpoise can be seen feeding. Farther offshore you may also see killer whales, bay and harp seals, dolphins and squid. From delicate songbirds to resilient seabirds to regal hawks and eagles, ptarmigans, grouse and owls, the park abounds with birdlife. The park protects the breeding and migratory colonies of kittiwakes, puffins, gulls, common murres, razor- billed auks, gannets and Leach's storm petrels.

 

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