Wildlife in the Valley

From wildlife in our wetlands to grizzly bears in our National Parks, Columbia Valley is full of animals great and small. We share our home with many majestic creatures of all sizes.

If you have ever entered the Valley through Radium Hot Springs you have probably witnessed the many bighorn sheep strutting along the highway like they own the place. Although there are other places within B.C where you will have the opportunity to see a bighorn sheep, Radium is the only village in which these sheep live year round. If you head to Radium in the summer you can most likely find them taking a nap in the shade of a tree along the main part of town. If you visit in the fall, the rams will be butting heads to assert their dominance and pass on their genes.

The Columbia Wetlands spreads over 180km in length and is one of the largest, undisturbed wetland ecosystems in North America. It boasts home to a multitude of wildlife including amphibians, reptiles, fish, birds and mammals. In the warmer months we have the luxury of being able to SUP board, kayak or canoe into these wetlands and witness these beautiful creatures up close in their habitat. You may see a beaver, a bald eagle or osprey. Please remember however that these wetlands are fragile so  as the saying goes, ‘take nothing but memories and leave nothing but footprints’.

A bear’s cub is born between January and February. They do not hibernate within this time but instead feed of their mother’s milk within the den. With early spring, bears begin to come out of hibernation and no doubt are a little hungry. Through spring and even into summer will see bears down low, and even around residential areas foraging for food. It is very important to ensure you make your home a bear proof home by having all garbage and compost locked up securely, pet feed inside, BBQs cleaned, and be extra diligent with bird feeders and berry bushes.

Whitetail and mule deer are the 2 main species of deer you will find in Columbia Valley. Many of these deers will often come into residential areas without a second thought, even wandering down the main roads of Invermere. These deer also hang about on the sides of the highway eating grass, so be extra cautious when driving… particularly at dusk and dawn.

There are rules and regulations in place to ensure that we do not intentionally feed these animals… fines do apply. Feeding wildlife can create a number of problems, from wildlife becoming comfortable around people to them becoming dependant on human food and damaging property in order to get their fix.

We also need to give these animals the space they need. Never approach wildlife in order to get an up close view or take a photo. If you want to stop, stay at a good distance and in your vehicle. As the name would indicate, these creatures are wild and we want to keep them that way.

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