July 14, 2012 | Tips from Travellers >
Prince George, Bear Watching
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In Prince George, one of the most common questions visitors ask is "where do we go to view the wildlife?" Unlike in some parts of the world, where such a question is important to ask because wildlife may be isolated to pockets of protected areas, in northern BC it is a difficult one to answer. "Everywhere" is a bit of an oversimplified answer, but it is hard to think of anything else in a place so wild and open. To illustrate how common wildlife sightings are, this week I encountered a bear while bicycling, and just before that I saw two moose along the side of the road. Both incidents were very close to the city. In the newspaper it was even reported that a lost moose calf curled up for the night on a local doorstep right in town! For the purposes of most travellers, the best place to look is on the side of the road, along the ditches. Dusk is when moose are most active, so they are commonly seen then. Many visitors have been very pleasantly surprised by what they have seen. Some families have reported seeing a half dozen bear in one day alone! That said, it is largely a case of luck, and it is possible that on a whole roadtrip you may see a deer and some cows in a field (not that cows aren't bad, but something about them standing there chewing grass just doesn't scream "majestic").
The downside of all these wonders of nature surrounding us? Be careful. Wildlife are truly wild animals, and should be treated with care. Never approach a bear or moose, make lots of noise while hiking to announce yourself to animals, and be vigilant while driving in case anything darts out anto the road. For additional information about how to keep safe while viewing wildlife, visit a visitor centre or ask at guide outfitting stores.
Hopefully, armed with information, you too can have a safe and exciting trip viewing some of the beautiful animals of our province!