Wildlife Watching in the National Parks


While visiting the Canadian Rockies, chances are that you will have the opportunity to either catch a glimpse of wild animals or maybe even observe them in their natural habitat. Now because it is their natural environment, we must make every attempt to stay out of their space. If they become used to us in their spaces, they will no longer have fear - they will no longer be wild. This will result in them habituating our spaces and this in turn can lead to their death. The animals can feel threatened and become defensive and have to be relocated or even worse, put down to protect people. Of course it is a thrill to see an animal you have always wanted to see, but remember that you are also responsible for protecting that animal.

Things to remember when observing wildlife in the Rocky Mountains:

  • While driving, be on the look-out for animals, especially at dawn or dusk. Parks Canada does not recommend stopping your vehicle on the road to view an animal. For your safety and the animals' safety it is better to keep going and not cause a bear-jam!
  • If on foot on a trail, make lots of noise (sing, talk etc). Surprising a wild animal is dangerous.
  • Always stay far away from the animal you are observing. At any moment they could feel threatened and turn on you. They can move extremely fast - and no - you probably won't beat it to your car!
  • Never feed the animals. Gone are the days when it was neat to feed a squirrel some smarties or have a bear lick your icecream through the car window. (Yes, these things have been known to happen!) We have a saying here in the mountains: A fed animal is a dead animal. Not only do they become used to us feeding them and begin to depend on us for food but the food we give them may not be what their bodies need.
  • Respect wild animals and their habitat. Observe and admire from a distance. Use binoculars or a telephoto lens and enjoy!

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