Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

Wildlife Viewing in the Cariboo Region

Three of B.C.’s most distinctive landscapes meet in the Cariboo Region. In the west, lush temperate rainforests in the deep valleys and fiords of the coastal mountains give rise to alpine peaks and tundra. In the east are ranges of more rounded mountains clothed with dense coniferous
forests and separated by large, deep lakes. The plateau between these two mountain areas is in the rainshadow of the western mountains. Dry lodgepole pine and Douglas-fir forests occur, with extensive grasslands hugging the Fraser and Chilcotin river valleys. These bunchgrass grasslands are at their northern limit in B.C.

The diversity of landscapes in the Cariboo Region provides a wide variety of habitats and a rich association of wildlife species. Important populations of large ungulates include woodland caribou, California Bighorn Sheep, Mule Deer and Moose. The many water bodies, from grasslands to high mountains, are home to abundant numbers and variety of waterfowl, from loons and grebes to dabbling ducks and shorebirds. Bats, butterflies, reptiles and amphibians occur in their special habitats throughout the region.

Many of the large rivers have populations of fish, including salmon, kokanee and steelhead. The Fraser, Chilcotin, Cariboo, Horsefly and Bella Coola Rivers all support large salmon runs that may be viewed from July to September. The run on the Horsefly River has as many returning fish as the famous Adams River that flows into Shuswap Lake. Many lakes are stocked with rainbow trout, but others, especially the larger lakes to the east, have a more varied fish population.

Viewing of migrating bird species associated with lakes, ponds and wetlands is particularly rewarding during spring and fall. Migrants appear as soon as openings develop in the ice — as early as March in the south but April in the north, west and east. Southward migration of shorebirds may begin as early as July, while loons can still be seen in October.

Wildlife viewing brochure for the Cariboo region [PDF 1.0MB]