This is another post from Tim Larison from familytravelgurus.com on his visit to the province of Alberta, Canada in March, 2016.
My first opportunity to view wildlife was at Elk Island National Park near Edmonton. Elk Island has one of the largest remaining buffalo herds in North America (or a more accurate term – a North American Bison herd). Here the park rangers gave us an interesting overview of the bison. I learned that there were over 30 million bison in the 1800’s. Through unmanaged slaughter for their hides this number was sadly reduced to 1000 over the course of about 70 years. A reserve like Elk Island keeps these magnificent animals protected from hunters.
The park rangers advised us not to take a selfie here – you never know when a bison is going to charge! So I had one of my fellow travelers take this picture instead. “You aren’t going to outrun a bison,” our guide explained, “they can run faster that Usain Bolt!”
I’ve never seen big horn sheep at this close a vantage point! I took this picture from about 30 feet away. “Don’t worry, they won’t bother you,” our driver said. I was amazed how these animals could balance themselves on the narrow, rocky mountain edges.
We had some amazing wildlife views during non-peak hours. Our guide said the best wildlife viewing opportunities are in the early morning or just before sunset.
In 2017 all the Canadian parks will be free to enter to celebrate Canada’s 150 year anniversary. I am already planning a return trip, in the summer this time, to see even more animals (such as the hibernating bears)
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