Banff National Park - Ecology - Wildlife

Wildlife

The park has 56 mammal species that have been recorded. Grizzly and black bears inhabit the forested regions. Cougar, lynx, wolverine, weasels, northern river otter and wolves are the primary predatory mammals. Elk, mule deer, and white-tailed deer are common in the valleys of the park, including around (and sometimes in) the Banff townsite, while moose tend to be more elusive, sticking primarily to wetland areas and near streams. In the alpine regions, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, marmots and pika are widespread. Other mammals such as beavers, porcupines, squirrels, chipmunks, and Columbian ground squirrels are the more commonly observed smaller mammals. In 2005, a total of five caribou were counted, making this species one of the rarest mammals found in the park.

Due to the harsh winters, the park has few reptiles and amphibians with only one species of toad, three species of frog, one salamander species and two species of snakes that have been identified. At least 280 species of birds can be found in Banff including bald and golden eagles, red-tailed hawk, osprey, and merlin, all of which are predatory species. Additionally, commonly seen species such as the gray jay, American three-toed woodpecker, mountain bluebird, Clark's nutcracker, mountain chickadee and pipit are frequently found in the lower elevations. The white-tailed ptarmigan is a ground bird that is often seen in the alpine zones. Rivers and lakes are frequented by over a hundred different species including loons, herons and mallards who spend their summers in the park.

Endangered species in Banff include the Banff Springs snail (Physella johnsoni) which is found in the hot springs of Banff. Woodland caribou, found in Banff, are listed as a threatened species.

Read more about this topic:  Banff National Park, Ecology

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