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British Columbia

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The most westerly province of Canada, British Columbia offers great wildlife diversity with the chance to see exciting apex predators on land, and in the air and sea. The forests, rivers, and coastal inlets are home to the mighty Grizzly Bear, and its smaller cousin the Black Bear. Overhead the Bald Eagle is the king of his aerial domain, and the rich coastal waters are the core habitat of a thriving Orca or Killer Whale population. The Pacific Ocean, Coast and Rocky Mountains, and dense forests of Cedar, Douglas Fir and Hemlock form a backdrop that is every bit as dramatic and diverse as the wildlife, and evokes the Canadian wilderness of childhood imagination.

Where the mountains meet the ocean, a broad swather of old growth forest known as the Great Bear Rainforest strecthes south from the border with Alaska to within 125 miles of Vancouver. Fragmented by deep fjords and channels, and criss-crossed by 80 pristine river systems teaming with salmon, it is the largest tract of intact temperate rainforest left on earth and the stronghold of the Coastal Grizzly Bear which can be seen in the remote coastal inlets of Lower Mainland, Central Mainland and Northern BC. It is also home to the rare and elusive spirit of the forest, the white-coated Kermode or Spirit Bear, the greatest concentration of which can be found on an cluster of heavily forested islands in the Central Coast region. Shy and rarely sighted predators such as the Cougar and Grey Wolf are also found here, as are several species of deer, notably the largest of the genus, the Moose, and the majestic Elk.Further inland and at higher elevations beyond the reach of the spawning salmon, Grizzly Bears live a more predatory lifestyle on mountain slopes, plateaus, and alpine meadows, alongside the sure footed Mountain Goat and Big Horn Sheep.

Offshore the emerald green, nutrient rich waters of the Northern Pacific team with life. Resident and transient Orcas travel up and down the coast making the most of seasonal feeding opportunities, and these waters also play host to migratory baleen whales including the Humpback and Southern Gray Whale. Minke Whales, Pacific Whitesided Dolphins, Dall's Porpoises, Sea lions and Seals are also found here, as are all 5 species of Pacific Salmon.

The inter-relationship between land and sea is perhaps best illustrated on Vancouver Island which lies just offshore for almost half the length of BC's coastline, from the US border northwards. While boasting a sizeable human population much of the island is still wilderness, and many of the animal species found on the mainland are also found here in large numbers, with the notable exception of the Grizzly Bear. Freed from the pressure of competition with its larger cousin, the Black Bear has made the island its own, making for wonderful viewing opportunities, alongside a wide variety of marine mammals and birdlife.

With easy access thorugh Vancouver International Airport, a visit to British Columbia a must for the discerning wildlife enthusiast looking to see a broad cross-section of Canadian fauna and marine life. Offering an excellent opportunity to combine a genuine wilderness experience with more conventional tourist activities in picturesque metropolitan centres like Vancouver and Victoria,it is also an area rich in human history and culture, with a sizeable First Nations population, and a popular destination for outdoor pursuits including sea kayaking, hiking, rock climbing, skiing, and sport fishing.As with all our itineraries, a Bear Trails trip to British Columbia is tailor made, and can be combined with visits to the other destinations that appear on this website. You decide where you want to go and what you want to see and do. We do the rest. While wildlife is our primary focus we have extensive contacts in BC and can organise all sorts of other activities for you, from city breaks to wilderness experiences, leisure activities to adventure sports.

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