Driving through the Rocky Mountains and foothills of western Canada, it’s not unusual to see elk herds beside or on the highway. There are also drive-through parks where you can move through herds of bison and get an up-close-and-personal look at these massive animals.
Although these animals may look calm and complaisant, foraging their way through their day, they can move a lot faster than you think. In the autumn, males compete for the attention of the females, and become cantankerous and restless. In spring and summer, females are often accompanied by young, and will attack any perceived threat. If you are visiting their habitat, make sure you’re aware of these moose, elk and bison safety trips before your visit.
THERE IS A REASON THE SIGNS SAY DO NOT GET OUT OF YOUR CAR
These are not pets – they are wild animals. They are HUGE wild animals who know how to defend themselves. In any altercation with a human, the animal is killed. Is that worth the price of a picture? One you can get just as easily by lowering your window?
The largest member of the Deer Family, moose are found across Canada, in all habitats except the dry prairies.
They favour marshes, swamps and muskeg in summer and move to drier slopes in the winter. Moose are solitary animals, except for females with young.
Males can reach 453 kg, and 1.8 metres high at the shoulder. Females are smaller, but still can weigh up to 350 kg.
Elk, also called Wapiti or red deer, are now found throughout the four western provinces.
They are flexible in their choice of habitat, but prefer open areas such as alpine pastures, marshy meadows, river flats, open prairies and aspen parkland.
Bull elk can reach 315 kg and stand 1.4 m at the shoulder, with females weighing 225 kg and 1.3 m in height.
Bison, or buffalo, once ranged across the North American continent in the millions.
Their population is now restricted to parks, nature reserves, and game farms. Many are drive-through areas.
These huge members of the cow family can reach 570 kg and 1.8 metres in the males, and 420 kg and 1.5 m for females.