Being landlocked does mean that the wildlife in Alberta is a little restricted compared to BC or Alaska. No whales or seals here and you are on the wrong side of the Rockies for the salmon run. There are still plenty of animals around, enough to ensure that while driving on the more popular routes you have to be alert for tourists who have stopped their car in the middle of the road to gawp at a moose or elk by the road.
Elk by road near Jasper
Elk can be found from Alaska to California and as far east as Ontario and Texas. They are not exactly uncommon in the Rockies, indeed the total population in North America is estimated to be about 1 million. There may be plenty of them around but even so this one standing close to the edge of the road near Jasper caused a major wildlife traffic jam.
Moose grazing in Maligne Lake
A moose with no antlers? Yep, that’s because it is a female, only the males have antlers and you will have to go to our Alaska Wildlife page to see one of those. Before we spotted this moose in Maligne Lake we thought that they grazed mainly on grass. In reality the moose’s favourite food is aquatic and marsh plants such as horsetails and pond weed, so it is not unusual to see them wading in the shallows and dipping their heads in the water to grab a mouthful. Moose are most common in Scandinavia, Russia and Canada. In the USA they are found in Alaska and their range extends down the Rockies into Wyoming, Montana and Idaho as well as northern New England.
Black Bear near Athabasca Falls, Jasper National Park
Jasper National Park is huge, over a million hectares (4,200 square miles) in size. Although a few areas such a Jasper and Maligne Lake are busy the size of the park ensures that you can easily get off the beaten track and thereby improve your chance of seeing wildlife. Driving along the Route 93A we hadn’t seen another car for over 15 minutes when suddenly a Black Bear came padding down the road in the opposite direction. Other than a quick sideways glance it showed little interest as it passed us in our car, it just carried on along the road intent on getting to wherever it was going. Click Tab 2 to get closer than you would dare in real life.
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© Mike Elsden 1981 - 2023
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