For spectacular wildlife watching, the Great Bear Rainforest offers the opportunity to view Black and Brown Bears in the unspoiled wilderness of North America.
With its winding inlets, imposing glaciers, and wealth of flora and fauna, the Great Bear Rainforest is a naturalist’s dream. In this protected forest, you'll come face to face with some of the most magnificent animals on the planet.
The Great Bear Rainforest
Though the term "rainforest" might conjure images of steamy Amazonian canopies, the Great Bear Rainforest is actually located in western Canada – far from the tropics. This 12,000 square-mile protected area is located in a temperate rainforest, much less common than the tropical version. Both types of rainforest are characterised by high annual rainfall, a dense canopy, and a high level of biodiversity. Located along the north and central coasts of British Columbia, the Great Bear Rainforest is a pristine wilderness of towering trees, coastal fjords, and ice-capped mountains.
The Great Bears
The area gets its name from its numerous ursine inhabitants, which include Brown Bears and Kermode Bears, often called "Spirit Bears", a subspecies of the American Black Bear with a distinctive white or cream-coloured coat. The Spirit Bear’s pale colour, which occurs in about one out of every ten cubs, is a result of a double recessive gene. The bear is a prominent feature in the oral traditions of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest, and the province of British Columbia has even named the Spirit Bear its official provincial mammal.
The Great Bear Rainforest is also noted for its Grizzly Bears, a subspecies of Brown Bears. Though similar in appearance overall, the Grizzly is distinguishable by its gold or grey-tipped guard hairs, which give it the "grizzled" appearance that earned it its name.
Once of the best times to view Spirit, Grizzly, and Brown Bears in the Great Bear Rainforest is during the salmon runs in autumn. Salmon runs take place when the Pacific salmon swim from the ocean upstream to spawn. This massive migration is a veritable feast for the bears of the rainforest. Though most are solitary creatures, they will congregate in their respective groups to catch the salmon from the banks of rivers and streams. When the salmon are in abundance, bears often eat only the fattiest parts of the fish – the brains, skin, and eggs – leaving the rest of the fish for scavengers.
The Great Bear Rainforest is a place of enormous plant and animal diversity, and offer unparalleled wildlife viewing in a pristine natural environment. Vibrant, stunning, and teeming with life, this lush swath of wilderness is the perfect place to see nature in action.