Mammals

British Columbia is home to more species of mammal than any other Canadian province.

BC's high mammal percentage is owed to so many reasons, especially the vastness of the landscape playing host to the wildlife. Extending nearly 1000 miles north to south and 400 miles east to west, BC has enough room and zones for such variety.

That being said, insular regions such as the islands contain many fewer types of mammals than the mainland. Water boundaries seem to play a more important role in excluding diverse populations than do the mountains of the mainland. These separations have also led to scientific discussion regarding subspecies, and research is ongoing in regards to how island populations might differ genetically from mainland populations.

British Columbia Land Mammals

Land Mammals

Land mammals are even more diversified. Over 100 native species can be found across British Columbia. The Interior Plateau is where the highest concentration of multiple species exist. Big game species get the most press, including Whitetail, Mule, and Fallow deer, moose, caribou, elk, mountain goat, bison, and sheep. These herd animals were historically significant for providing food sources and other materials used by First Nations tribes for survival. They also serve as prey to the populations of large carnivores still exist in British Columbia.

Grizzly and black bears, cougars, gray wolves, wolverines, badgers, bobcats, foxes and more make up a thriving population at the top of the food chain. These predators are all fierce in their own way, but they are also majestic pieces to the natural puzzle that is the British Columbia wild. Governmental protection has been passed down for many of these animals in order to keep the system healthy. Don't go into the woods unprepared, though!

Fur traders were especially interested in BCs population of otters, mink, and beavers. These species still exist in good numbers today. Other small squirrels and rodents are abundant as well! Included among them are 4 species of chipmunk and 3 species of marmot. And a person would be remiss to forget about the more than 15 species of bat living in British Columbia. There are definitely no shortages of mammals that take advantage of this province!

British Columbia Marine Mammals

MARINE MAMMALS

BC is home to a wide variety of marine mammals who trace diverse evolutionary paths. For instance, there are 5 members of the earless seal family, Phocidae--a family with 6 separate distinctions with multiple species per family; all this underneath the order of Cetacea, commonly known as whales and dolphins!

The most picturesque and famous whale in British Columbia reality and folklore is the Orca. Resident and transient pods frequent the rich waters along the coast. Humpback whales are another commonly experienced and photographed member of the whales. There is predation between marine mammals, as otters, porpoise, and multiple species of sea lions are primary food sources of toothy whales in the area.