Spotlight on Northern wildlife
Pikas, among the world’s cutest creatures
You will find mountain pikas through the Rockies in Alberta and British Columbia. For collared pika, head to northern British Columbia and Yukon.
These small animals who look like guinea pigs are threatened by climate change and the population is decreasing. They overheat at mild temperatures so they live where the weather is cold, but temperatures are slowly rising everywhere on earth.
Polar bears, these majestic endangered animals
Canada is home to about 16,000 polar bears, and 90% of them live in the two northernmost territories—Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, where they are animals of cultural and spiritual importance to local populations.
The polar bear is the largest species of bear. Males weigh between 350 kg to over 650 kg, which can be attributed to their high-fat diet—these skilled hunters need fat reserves to go through annual fasting times during the ice-free seasons when they have very limited access to seals and sea ice hunting grounds.
Climate change, as well as oil and gas explorations, are threatening polar bears and the population is decreasing.
Churchill, Manitoba, is known as the “polar bear capital of the world.” This city is on the edge of Hudson Bay and in the fall, this is where bears gather as they wait for the winter sea ice to form. It may be your best chance to see polar bears up close if you’re willing to travel 1,000 kilometres north of Winnipeg!
Arctic foxes, with their white winter fur
You’re more likely to spot a “regular” red-fur fox than an arctic fox who roams the tundra and northern coasts in Nunavut, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories.
Arctic foxes are stylish animals—they have a white coat during snowy winter months to adapt to freezing temperatures and a darker grey coat in the summer!
Once abundant in arctic regions, it’s now in danger of being extinct. First impacted by the fur trade, it now faces a scarcity of prey and its natural habitat is shrinking.