Ministry of Environment

Wildlife Viewing in B.C.

Viewing wildlife is fun and rewarding - and it is one of the fastest growing activities in North America. British Columbia is the most biologically diverse province or territory in Canada, with over 95 million hectares that are home to a rich variety of flora and fauna, providing some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities in Canada.

There are over 1100 species of vertebrates in B.C. These include 488 species of birds, 468 species of fish, 142 species of mammals, 22 species of amphibians, and 18 species of reptiles.

Three-quarters of Canada's mammal species are found in British Columbia, and 24 of those species are exclusive to our province. Additional species of vertebrates are regularly recorded here, perhaps as a result of the expansion of home ranges, and of more intensive searching by professional biologists and naturalists. Over 250 bird species breed in the province, 162 of those (55%) breed nowhere else in Canada. Invertebrate species probably number between 50,000 and 70,000, including 35,000 species of insects so don’t forget butterflies when wildlife viewing. B.C. has some of the most beautiful and most rare species in Canada.

British Columbia has an estimated 2790 native vascular plants species, (nearly 27% are considered species at risk). Approximately 1000 bryophytes (mosses and liverworts), 1600 lichens, 522 species of attached algae and well over 10,000 species of fungi are present in the province.

The abundance of wildlife species in British Columbia is a result of the province’s wide range of landforms and climates. British Columbia’s wildlife habitats include marine, estuary, wetland, fresh water, grassland, alpine, desert, coastal interior, and mountain forests.