From cuddly to bizarre: 8 wild animals you can actually see in BC (PHOTOS)

Mar 13 2022, 12:03 am

From grizzly bears to breaching whales, BC is known for its wildlife. And Vancouverites are lucky to be surrounded by a rainforest full of creatures rarely seen in other parts of the world, so sightseeing feels natural.

Sadly, many of them are also endangered, either because they were hunted, killed by illness, or left without their natural habitat. Don’t take them for granted, and make sure you observe them safely when you do see them.

Here are eight amazing endangered animals in BC you can try to find while you explore our gorgeous province this summer. 

Boreal Owl

Who has the best birdwatching in BC? It’s hard to say, but there are still places you can see this weird little guy. Look for aviaries where they’re living or bring your binoculars if you want to observe them in their element. You can recognize them from their funny square heads, bright yellow eyes, and fluffy mottled feathers.



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Do you have any idea how huge moose actually are? They can get bigger than a car, and they’re strong as hell. The largest moose recorded to date was from Alaska and over 1,800 pounds. That didn’t stop humans from hunting them, and their populations suffered. Don’t get too close if you see one, but admire their majesty from a distance and you’ll have a wildlife memory to cherish forever.

Grizzly Bear

These giants can be gentle, but they’re definitely nothing to mess with. Grizzly bears’ natural habitat is in BC, but their numbers got alarmingly low due to deforestation and human encroachment. Hunting didn’t help either, of course. If you can see them now, it’s a real luxury, and they’re well-protected across BC. Plus, their little faces are just so cute! Two live together on Grouse Mountain, but there are plenty more you can try to see with experts to guide you.

North Pacific Right Whale

Sightings are rare, but if you manage to see one of these enormous whales breach the surface, it’ll blow you away. They’re incredibly smart, with a brain that outweighs a human’s and big, frowny mouths they use to suck up food. If you’re extra lucky, you’ll see a baby during breeding season.

Basking shark

Okay, you probably won’t see this one while you’re out and about — six have only been seen since 1996 for sure — but it was too cool to keep off the list. They were hunted to near extinction, so if you see one, you’re very lucky.

If you’re into adventurous activities like shark-watching, it’s easy to recognize this shark because its mouth is always hanging wide open. It basically swims through the water and catches everything that goes in there. Goals.

Sakinaw Sockeye Salmon


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Sockeye salmons’ bright red and green colours are spectacular, and when they swim together, whole rivers erupt in flashes of iridescence. It’s incredible, and tragic to know they’re one of the endangered animals in BC. Salmon season in BC is always beautiful if you can manage to find a healthy ecosystem.

Mountain Beaver


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Dam, this animal is cool. Plus, they’re one of our national mascots — even though they chew through our wi-fi cables sometimes. This cute Canadian critter is tons of fun to watch while they’re building their dams, and there are tons of places you can still find them even though their species is at risk. Check out ponds and lakes near forests and listen for tail-slapping and tree-falling and you just might be able to spot them munching away. 

Western spotted skunk

Not your stereotypical striped skunk, this Western variant is covered in adorable spots! It looks like something out of a fairytale or a Studio Ghibli movie, but it’s very real and very able to spray you if you scare it. It can also stand on its front legs to look bigger and scarier, but it just makes them cuter. Try not to do that by moving slowly and staying far away anyways.

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