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How To See The Cutest Animals In Canada

Face it, we’re all suckers for cute animals. But wildlife is not just about fuzzy coats, big eyes, and cute cubs. Wildlife are  … well, wild. Lucky for us, Parks Canada has guidelines to help keep us – and the animals – safe while we enjoy viewing some amazing wildlife in their natural habitats.  Our national parks are some of the best places in Canada to connect with nature and seeing wildlife is definitely an added bonus. Check out some of our favourites below.

Grizzly Bears

British Columbia is one of the few places in the world and in Canada which still has significant populations of grizzlies (they are a species of Special Concern). These bears are of the brown bear species and are truly a sight to see due to their size and demeanour.

Where they are located:

Glacier National Park.

When to go:

Bears hibernate 5-7 months in the winter so you are most likely to see them in the summer time. Grizzlies should not be approached so make sure you give them lots of space, observe them from a distance and carry bear spray. Check out Parks Canada’s quick video on how to use bear spray here.

Black-tailed Prairie Dogs

Grasslands National Park’s West Block and neighbouring lands are the only place in Canada where Black-tailed Prairie dogs exist in their natural habitat. They are twice the size of a Richardson’s Ground Squirrel “gopher” and are highly social critters that live in extensive communal “dog towns.” They are comical to watch as members of a family identify each other by muzzling or ‘kissing,” they groom each other and have a large vocabulary of “cute” barking sounds.

Where they are located:

Grasslands National Park (West Block).

When to go: 

Go to the west block in the summer and go on the Ecotour Driving Adventure which will take you through several dog towns.

Tours to join:

Join a Sunset Horseback Adventure through the West Block, while enjoying a one-of-a-kind guided wildlife horseback experience and search for some of Canada’s rarest prairie creatures, from the majestic Plains Bison to the prehistoric Short-horned Lizard.

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Muskoxen

Primarily living in the Canadian Arctic, the muskoxen are a sight to see. With thick furry coats to keep them warm and a strong musk to attract females, you won’t want to miss these animals on your next trip up north.

Where they are located:

Quttinirpaaq National Park

When to go:

In the summer find the muskoxen in the muddy valleys and in the winter they head to higher ground to avoid deep snow.

Big Horned Sheep

Have you ever gotten lost in someone’s eyes? What about while staring directly at a big horned sheep? These animals have the cutest stare and are amazing in person. They travel in packs and love licking the ice on the road so drive slowly and keep your eyes out for these sheep as they are great for photo opportunities.

Where they are located:

Kootenay National Park.

When to go:

You can see them all year long in the national parks.

Beluga Whales

Beluga Whales are some of the easiest whales to spot as they are distinctly white-greyish, super social and native to Canada. These endangered whales are one of the most beautiful sights to see in the St. Lawrence and ‘must view’ if you are a lover of marine life.

Where they are located: 

Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park, Sirmilik National Park, Ukkusiksalik National Park. Beluga Whales can be observed from the shores of Pointe-Noire Interpretation and Observation Centre, Cap de Bon-Désir Interpretation and Observation Centre, Marine Environment Discovery Centre and Baie-Sainte-Marguerite Sector.

When to go:

The beluga whale spends the entire year in the St. Lawrence Estuary and the centres are open mid-June to mid-October.

Mountain Goats

Have you ever heard of the house party game ‘Mountain Goat’? It’s a game where you try to climb to the highest, most unreasonable point in a room. This game is named after a mountain goat because until you see them climb and scale mountains in real life you will never understand.

Where they are located:

Jasper National Park.

When to go:

It is easiest to spot their white coats in the summer as they have more contrast against the mountains. If you are visiting in the winter, don’t worry you will still have a chance to see them – you might just have to look harder.

 

Polar Bears

Last but not least is the polar bear. The world’s largest land carnivore is actually classified as a marine mammal because it spends so much of its life on the arctic sea ice. These beautiful creatures live both on land and in the ocean and are a sight to see. Their fur is made of two layers of fur which allows them to live in arctic temperatures… which means you will have to travel to the arctic to see them in their natural habitat, but we promise it’s worth it.

Where they are located:

Auyuittuq National Park and Wapusk National Park.

When to go:

It is best to visit in the summer to enjoy the warmer days and in some areas 24-hours of daylight.

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