Alberta is home to an abundance of wildlife! You may see sheep and elk along the roadside, or have squirrels steal food from your picnic tables! Remember that while cute, all wild animals can be dangerous - never attempt to feed or harass any wildlife.
See all wild species in Alberta here.
When you're in Alberta, you're in bear country!
When in bear country:
- Carry bear spray and a noise maker. Before leaving home read the instructions. Carry the bear spray in a belt holster or somewhere where you can access it immediately. Do not carry the bear spray inside your backpack.
Watch for fresh bear signs. If the signs look like they were made recently, quickly and calmly leave the area. Signs of bear activity include:
- Fresh carcasses
- Overturned rocks
- Scratched logs
- Torn-up ant hills
- Avoid areas with typical bear food sources. These include berry patches, grain fields, garbage pits, beehives and anywhere you can see an animal carcass.
- Go with friends. Bears are less likely to approach people in groups. Check each other's position often and remember that the larger the group, the less likely a bear will hang around.
- Watch for crows, ravens, magpies or jays. These birds often indicate the presence of an animal carcass that may also attract a bear.
- Be alert when in wildlife travel corridors. Rivers and streams, trails and access routes, are common travel corridors for wildlife, including bears. Be cautious when you are in these areas.
- Make sure someone knows your plans. Before your trip, leave names, trip plans and date of return with friends or family.
- Make noise. Talk loudly, sing or let out occasional warning shouts. This will alert bears to your approach so you are less likely to cause a surprise encounter. Remember that other sounds, such as flowing rivers and streams and strong winds, can drown out the noise you make. Be extra noisy at these times.
- If you hike with a dog, keep it on a leash. Your dog should be leashed and under control at all times. An unleashed dog can lead an irritated bear back to you and your friends.
- Avoid being out at dusk, night or dawn. Although bear encounters can happen at any time of day, bears are most active at dusk, night and dawn.
- Keep young children close to you. Children can be particularly at risk because they are small and make erratic movements.