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Animals
 
Black Bear
This species of Black Bear is unique to North America, usually nocturnal (night active) and solitary. Black Bears prefer heavily forested areas. Male adults will roam in a home area of 800 to 1000 sq. km. Every second year, January to February, a mother will have 1-5 cubs - each cub weighs about 1/2 kg. A bear's diet consists mainly of vegetation - twigs, buds, leaves, nuts, roots, fruits & berries. These usually peaceful animals become very aggressive if you go near a cub, or have a dog nearby (especially when unleashed). Bears react to dogs as if threatened by coyotes or wolves. Sadly many bears are killed for growing fond of human food they find in trash bins; or for their body parts due to some peoples false beliefs of health cures. Many bear species are nearly extinct in Western Canada due to poachers and governments that allow over zealous hunting, especially near park borders. Bears are also becoming rare in Parks due to speeding motorists who fail to slow down for wildlife. Please, give all animals your kind understanding & respect - from far away!!
 
Bison/Buffalo

1. Plains Bison -  Plains Bison are relatives of the Wood Buffalo (Bison bison athabascae) that are native to Alberta. Plains Bison are smaller by 10-15 percent, rounder and have lighter hair. In the late 1880’s the last remaining Plains bison in the USA were exterminated except for a small group of calves that were rescued by some Montana ranchers. Years later the ranchers refused to sell the remaining buffalo to the US government due to previous efforts for their extermination. About 700 Plains Bison were bought by the Canadian Govt and sent to Elk Island National Park ( E.of Edmonton, S.of Lamont). Elk Island N.P. was formed by the efforts of local citizens concerned about the demise of beavers and larger wildlife, especially Elk due to horrendous overhunting. In 1893, Canadian Govt had passed laws to control buffalo hunting, elk, moose, deer were not protected. The Bison herd was relocated to Buffalo Park, Wainwright, Alberta, except for 48 bison that could not be caught, and have lived ever since on the North side of Elk Island Park.. These remaining Plains Bison formed the nucleus of genetic purity as the last of their species, because the buffalo sent to Wainwright interbred with the nearly extinct Wood Buffalo. About 100,000 Plains Bison are now in parks and zoos worldwide. Natives around Willingdon, Alberta named one place Hairy Hill. When the Buffalo had thundered in vast herds across the prairies, they often stopped there, leaving large piles of hairs that were gathered for bedding and warm coverings.

2. Wood Buffalo -

Wood Buffalo (Bison bison athabascae) are relatives of the USA Plains Buffalo (Bison bison).  Wood Buffalo are larger with darker coats – they survived by Canada’s 1893 law banning buffalo hunting.  Elk Island National Park (50 km E.of Edmonton, 5 km N.of Lamont ), was created in 1906, by the efforts of  local citizens concerned about the demise of beavers and larger wildlife in the area.

 In 1957, a small herd of endangered, purebred Wood Buffalo were discovered in a remote area of Buffalo Park, Wainwright, Alberta.  In 1965, 23 Wood Buffalo were sent to Elk Island & kept separate from all Plains Bison to ensure purity of each species.  In the 1990’s several were relocated to Wood Buffalo National Park to genetically revitalize herds decimated by disease and arctic weather.   When the Buffalo had thundered in vast herds across the prairies, they often stopped at Hairy Hill, Alberta (NE of Lamont), leaving large piles of hairs that were gathered by natives for bedding and warm coverings. 

 

Bighorn Sheep
This species in the Rocky Mountains range as far south as Arizona. Male Rams weigh up to 145 kg (300 lbs) and female Ewes about 90 kg (200 lbs). Rams' horns can weigh more than 40 pounds (18 kg), and during mating season, they bash heads with incredible force ( 6 to10 m/s x 145 kg ).

The base of their horns and skulls are formed so that they compress to absorb much of the impact. Bighorns are nimble, agile climbers to avoid coyotes, eagles, and cougars. Yes, they do sometimes fall off cliffs. A large number of animal fatalities & cripplings occur at speeds under 30 km/hr when animals only appear to be calm. Please drive very slowly when animals are near. They feed on grasses and shrubs, and seek minerals at natural salt licks in the summer or roadsides during winter. Please also do not disturb them when grazing, as vegetation nutrients are at maximum for only a short time, they need to put on a lot of weight to survive winter.

 

Chipmunk
Twenty-one chipmunk species occur in North America, four in western Canada that belong to the genus Tamias - Neotamias. The least chipmunk T. Ainimus is the most common and has the largest range, the yellow-pine chipmunk T. Amoenus, the red-tailed chipmunk T. Ruficaudus; and the Townsend’s chipmunk T. Townsendii that is found only in the extreme SW corner of British Columbia. In Canada, no species of chipmunk is found north of the treeline due to the cold winters. These cheerful animals are primarily found at lower altitudes in forested areas near their natural foods. 

A chipmunk spends much of its day collecting and storing seeds, which are its most important source of food. Although most species of chipmunks usually forage on the ground, they all easily climb trees and shrubs to harvest nuts and fruit. Throughout the spring, summer, and autumn, the chipmunk’s diet is supplemented with insects, worms, flowers, berries, mushrooms.  

Despite their boldness searching for food, chipmunks are solitary animals, each with its own burrow. They usually ignore other chipmunks except during mating or when females care for their young. In early spring, several males may compete for a female, and may mate with more than one female during one breeding season. In Canada, the main breeding season is from mid-April to mid-May. In Canada, due to the colder weather, chipmunks have only one breeding season and one litter, though in warm years with good food a second litters can occur. 

The gestation, or pregnancy, period is about 30 days. When it is over, the female chipmunks rear their litter usually four to six young without any help from males. Young chipmunks are born naked and blind and weigh about 3 g at birth, The ears are closed until around the 28th day, and the eyes open at 31 to 33 days of age. When they are four to seven weeks old, the young chipmunks begin to leave the burrow to forage. After a few days above ground they are more wary and escape quickly if disturbed. The young grow rapidly during the late summer and reach adult size before the end of September. Most breed in their first spring, but some may wait until their second year.

 
Coyote
These fine animals play a crucial role in the balance of nature by controlling populations & preventing the spread of disease. They feed on small animals, amphibians and even insects. They hunt solo, in pairs or as a group "pack" . Weight is from 10-20 kg and they can run up to 60 km/hr. Like all animals, they are caring of their young and playful when they have a chance to relax. Please give them a chance & protective respect for a long, healthy life.
 
 
Deer
Mule Deer are named for their ears which are similar to mules.  The white throat fur and tail black tip distinguish it from the white tail deer. Both deer species raise their tail and make noises to warn others of danger. Almost extinct from over-hunting, deer are now more abundant, although chronic wasting disease is of recent concern.  Primary predators are humans, cougars, lynx, coyote, wolves, farm dogs and sometimes bears. Deer feed on vegetation - plants, twigs, grass, berries, corn, nuts. Farmers complain of deer damaging crops, yet the damage is usually a very small percentage of the total crop - Nature's fee for free sunshine, fresh air, good land.  Maybe we could tax life-wasting video games and movies to compensate farmers for wildlife conservation efforts.  Many predators & scavenger birds depend on a healthy deer, moose, elk populations.  Males deer (bucks) shed their antlers between January-April, and regrow them in about 150 days for the autumn breeding season. A mature female (doe) will often have twins in the spring.  Deer live for about 10 years in the wilderness.
 
 
Elk
During the summer, elk are often grazing by the roadside. Please keep your distance and move along before they stop grazing because nutrients in the vegetation peak for a short time, and animals need to adda lot of weight to survive winter. In Europe, Elk refer to a completely different animal species, which in North America refer s to Moose. North American Male Elk are about 1.7m tall at their shoulder with additional 1.2m for neck & head. They weigh 270-500 kg. (600-1100 lbs). Females are about 3/4 ofmale size. These huge, graceful animals can easily leap over fences 2-3m (7-10ft) and can run long distances at 45 km/hr with bursts up to70 km/hr. Despite their large size and antlers, elk move almost silently through a forest. During the autumn mating season, the males stop eating as they are too busy challenging males seeking territory and breeding females - the males eerie calls for females can be heard very far. In the wild, these majestic animals live about 7 years, as competition, predators and arthritis limit their lifespan. They are becoming rare in the wild, when governments allow excessive hunting without any scientific studies. Natural predators are cougars, lynx, wolves. Many are killed by people's vehicles, large trucks & trains going much too fast - studies show many types of animals are killed or crippled at speeds under 40 km/hr. Please drive carefully when near wildlife, and be especially vigilant from dusk to dawn.
 

Marmot

Marmots are biologically classified in a sub-family (Sciurinae) of Squirrels, of which there are 15 species of Marmot worldwide. Marmots are found in northern climates of Europe, Asia and North America. Canada has 4 species: Yellow-bellied (Marmota Flaviventris), Alpine-Hoary (M. Caligata) and Vancouver Island (M. Vancouverensis). these 3 are found only in the Western provinces. The fourth is commonly known as the Woodchuck (likely from the Cree word Wuchak) or Groundhog (M. Monax), that is found in isolated areas across Canada, excluding Nunavut and Newfoundland.This picture is of a Hoary-Alpine species of Marmot which lives in regions of British Columbia and may also be found in Rocky Mountains of Alberta. This marmot was found in Yoho National Park, B.C. and shows grey-brown-black colours typical of the Alpine-Hoary Marmot.

Marmots typically make their den in fallen rock debris (talus) that piles up on mountain slopes, usually beneath cliffs. Marmots feed almost entirely on green plants, with some seeds and berries when available. During the month of May, typically 4 to 8 young are born. Alpine Marmots typically grow to 43 cm (1 ' 5" ) to 54 cm ( 1' 9" ) long (tail not included ). Adults weigh 2.8 to 3.3 kg (6.2- to 3 pounds) in the spring which typically increases to about 5.50 kg (12.1 pounds) in preparation for Winter hibernation.

Many carnivores prey on Marmots; which are understandably cautious. Bears have been known to dig up hibernating Marmot n the early spring. When a Marmot sees possible danger, the Marmot moves away to a nearby high spot and stands upright on its hind legs to get a better view. When threatened, the Marmot warns others with a shrill "Eeeeeee" whistling cry - thus its common name "The Whistler".

 
Mountain Goat
Mountain goats are the largest mammals found in high-altitude habitats, elevations of 3,000 meters or more. All mountain goats have beards and black horns which have yearly growth rings. The dense wool of their undercoats is covered by an outer layer of longer, hollow hairs. In summer, mountain goats molt by rubbing against rocks and trees.A male (billy) stands about 1 meter (3' 3") at the shoulder & weighs approx. 90 kg (200 lbs.), females (nannies) are 10-30% lighter. For traction, mountain goats have hard cloven hooves that spread apart, revealing softer inner skin pads. Dewclaws on the back of their hoovest also help prevent slipping. In the wild, mountain goats usually live twelve to fifteen years, their lifespan limited by the wearing down of their teeth. After six months gestation, nannies give birth, usually to a single kid, in the spring (May - June). Nannies are fiercely protective of their young, who stay near for about a year. Mountain goats usually spend most of their time peacefully grazing on plants or getting minerals from ground rock at an "animal lick". Please respect their space & need to feed by keeping your distance, and staying quiet.

 
Porcupine
Porcupine's name is from Middle French "porc d'épine" meaning "thorny pork" or "quill pig" however they are rodents, not related to pigs. Porcupines are socially solitary, normally active at dusk and at night. Porcupines eat twigs, leaves, leaf buds, tree bark and the tender layers under tree bark. They also eat roots, berries, carrots, potatoes, and are very fond of salt, sometimes chewing peoples sweaty shoes or clothes, or car tires covered in road salt. A porcupine can grow to 1m/40in.long and weigh 20kg/44lbs. Porcupines breed in the autumn, the young porcupette is born in the spring, with soft quills that harden in a few hours. Porcupines can have about 30,000 quills, which are hard, barbed hairs. They do not shoot out their quills, but the barbed quill tips quickly embed into anything that touches them when the porcupine releases them. Porcupines also swing their tails to poke their quills into perceived threats. They can move surprisingly quick, so keep your distance ! Once the quills are in, they continue to penetrate deeper, eventually killing by causing infection. Porcupines have antibiotic in their skin to prevent infection when they quill themselves after falling out of a tree in search of food. There are 23 species of porcupines worldwide - New World porcupines mostly live in trees and have single quills. Old World porcupines live on the ground and have clusters of quills.The North American Porcupine or Canadian porcupine is a New World porcupine whose ancestors came from Africa to Brazil over 30 million years ago, then migrated North. In Africa, porcupines were revered as an ancient good luck charm. These shy little creatures just want to be left alone. Unfortunately they are slow moving and often found dead on the road due to careless motorists. Please educate others to leave them alone and allow them a peaceful life !
 
Squirrel 

1.Columbia - These cheerful animals can be found in BC-Alberta Rockies & adjacent regions, as well as Oregon, Washington, Idaho & Montana. They live in colonies - females usually stay with the colony they were born into, males leave to cross-breed elsewhere. Females live at lower altitudes where there is more food & warmth. Females give birth to 3-5 babies in May-June. They hibernate 7-8 months, depending on location, some start as early as July. Within their burrow home, they have a separate hibernation chamber they fill with food. Food favorites are grass, plant parts like stems, leaves, bulbs, fruits and seeds. Occasionally they eat small birds, insects, mice, voles.

2.Richardson- Many years ago, when settlers first arrived, these animlas were plentiful, with families of thousands in meadows. Since then, agriculture has eliminated most of their habitat. Squirrels, birds and other small animals are often killed by motorists. These and other small animals play a huge part in the survival of many predatory birds and animals whose lives often depend on a healthy abundance of these cheery, playful creatures.


Wolf

Grey Wolves are common to North America and are descendants of Siberian Wolves. Wolves are naturally shy of people. Worldwide, over the past 400 years, there are only a few cases of wolves attacking or killing people - much fewer than domestic dogs or wolf-dog hybrids. Wolves have a complex social structure. Alpha female wolves choose a nanny to teach young pups manners & greeting rituals of the pack social hierarchy. Like foxes & coyotes, wolves are playful with their young when they have a chance to relax. They cover up to 160 km a day searching for food, and can run 50-60km/hr for about 30 minutes. These fine animals play a vital role in controlling wildlife populations as they feed on nuts, berries, frogs, fish, rodents, small animals and usually older, weaker big game animals that could spread disease by staying in their herd. Big game animals are taken down by packs of wolves. Unfortunately, human ignorance and government hunting policies of wolves, coyotes & foxes continues to push natural predators to extinction in the wilderness - primarily to enable people to kill the healthiest big-game animals in the prime of their breeding lives. Instead of killing predator-scavenger wolves, coyotes & foxes, it would boost wildlife populations with more no-hunting zones to protect wildlife all year from people.
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