When people come to Kananaskis, they are most likely to run into some sort of wildlife. Some of the more interesting wildlife we have seen in Kananaskis are : moose, grizzly bears, lynx , cougar and elk.
Please use caution when encountering animals, as they are wild and can be unpredictable. A seemingly docile elk can trample you in minutes. The safest thing to do, if you are in your car, is to remain so. Rangers also recommend that if you do see wildlife, remain in your car and keep at a distance of about 3 bus lengths. If you are not in your car, quietly observe and keep your distance. Do not approach them. They will most likely leave when they sense you are near.
A majority of the time, bears are afraid of you as much as you are of them. It is rare that they would stalk you. Just make a lot of noise when you hike. Those little "bear bells" are useless as their noise can be lost in the wind or by a stream. Whistles are also not recommended as some bears mistake this for the whistle of a marmot, which would make a nice, light snack.. The best way to make noise is to shout (anything you like -- we chose "yo bear" ) every so often, especially when coming around corners or going into thick forest. Talk often; this is a great time to discuss philosophy.
Often, trails where bear sightings have taken place will be closed, or there will be a warning posted. If you do see a grizzly bear, report the sighting to your nearest information centre as this helps the rangers track them. Keep in mind that grizzly sightings are rare. Their territory is huge; there may be three grizzly bears in the whole Kananaskis corridor. Also, do not use highly scented products, as bears love scents. If you are unsure about what to do in a bear encounter, head to the information centre first before you start out.
For more info on wildlife in the Kananaskis area, go to the website below:
Think twice before drinking from that crystal clear, icy cold mountain stream that looks so tempting when you are hot and sweaty and running low on water.
Giardiasis is often referred to as "Beaver Fever" and causes stomach upset, vomiting and diarrhea. It is common in areas with lots of wildlife, as animals can contimate water with their droppings. Besides giardiasis, you can get a number of parasites and bacteria by drinking untreated water.
Even though you feel you are out in the middle of the wilderness, be very careful to take your valuables with you, or leave them where you are staying. Kananaskis is not immune to crime; thieves love it when you leave your car for hours on a picnic or a hike. It gives them plenty of time to break in, and make their getaway!
Stop anywhere in Kananaskis and pull out some food. Wait about 5-10 minutes. These birds will come out of nowhere, hoping for a snack.
Also known as the Grey Jay, these you-can't-help-but-love-'em birds get the name Whiskey Jack from the Cree "wiskatjon". These birds are scavengers and feed off of fresh kills of large animals. They also scavenge from another large animal, known as man. They are very tame, and if you hold out some food, many will eventually swoop down, sit on your hand and make off with their treat. From what I've noticed, they'll eat anything. If you don't like them hanging around, just ignore them and don't feed them, and they'll eventually go away.
Beware of wildlife!!!
Parks Canada (or Parcs Canada in French) requires that all pets (especially dogs) hiking in the area must be leashed. This is for protection of the environment, wildlife and people. Can you imagine if fido scares up a bear, cougar, elk or some other wild animal and it starts to chase your pet? Guess where your pet is going to go running to? And who will be following? Heed all warnings!!!
Don't feed the animals!!!
Wildlife is abundant in the area, you will see them while hiking or driving along the road. They may look gentle and docile, but they are not. This is their environment, so respect their home and be aware of your surroundings. I've been to the park numerous time over the past 2 years and have seen grizzly bears upclose and personal (as seen in this picture).