Ringo and Ohmar
Ferdinand, 240, PT
Thunder and family
California Bighorn Sheep
Image courtesy of MacCo Photo
Both of our camels were born in 1996. Ohmar came to us from a Penticton petting zoo in 2004, while Ringo came to the Park in 1996 from Vancouver. Ringo's coat is a dark red, while Ohmar's coat is tan.
Descritption: The bactrian camel has 2 humps on their back used to store fat (not water). They can grow thick hair to protect them from a variety of climates; they also have large well padded feet that allow them to walk over sand without sinking.
Distribution: Bactrian camels typically inhabit the deserts of the Middle East, being found from Iran to China and from Mongolia to regions of Central Asia.
Diet: Camels are herbivorous, consuming leafy plants, grasses and grains.
Behaviour: While camels are well known for spitting, this is a behaviour used to defend themselves against predators and other intruding animals/people. What is interesting is that spitting appears to be a learned behaviour! A camel's humps can store up to 80 lbs of fat which can be broken down when food and water are limited.
All three of our bison were born here at the Park; Ferdinand the largest bison was born in March of 1995. The females were born in May 1995 ("240") and May 2001 ("PT").
Description: The bison is the largest land animal in North America. A large male can stand over six feet from hoof to shoulder and weigh as much as 1000 kgs! The bison has a thick brown coat which becomes more coarse in the winter, and a characteristic beard. They have large heads, with short black horns and a hump on its shoulders (which is a mass of muscle used to raise and lower their large heads!).
Distribution: Bison were once abundant in the Prairies of Canada and the US, however only small patches remain today.
Diet: Are herbivores, eating mostly grasses, sedges and brush.
Behaviour: Bison are very powerful animals. A herd of bison will defend their young from predators ferociously. They spend their days resting, chewing their cud or rolling in dirt. Bison are most active in the early morning and late afternoon.
Image courtesy of Edna Park
Description: The elk is the second largest member of the deer family next to the moose. They are distinguishable from the moose by their slender face, lighter underside, and light coloured rump. Only the males grow the large antlers with many tines (points); the main beam can grow up to 150 cm long!
Distribution: Elk prefer to live in high, open mountain pastures in summer and will move into lower wooded slopes or dense woods in the winter. They are most abundant along the western side of the Rocky Mountains but they can be found near Golden, Bush River, Forest Lake and Valemont.
Diet: Elk are herbivores, consuming grasses and sedges, twigs and leaves from a variety of trees including aspen, and in the winters they have been known to eat conifer tree branches.
Behaviour: In the Fall, once the velvet on the antlers has been shed, the male begins to build a harem of up to 60 cows (a harem is a group of females that one male protects from other males during the breeding season or rut).
Image courtesy of Lauren Brown
We have two llamas at the Park. Caesar came to the Park in 2006 as a 3 year old llama from a private farm. He can be seen guarding the pygmy goats up at the Cactus Corral. Cleo came from the Penticton area in 2010.
Description: Llamas have long necks, alert faces, and thick coats to protect their bodies from cold mountain weather. Their colour can range from white, black or brown and every colour in between! They are smaller cousins to camels, reaching weights of 250 - 500 lbs!
Distribution: Llamas came from South America, and were widely used as pack animals. They can be found across Canada and the United States as a domesticated animal.
Diet: These ungulates (hoofed mammal) consume mainly grasses like a cow would.
Behaviour: Llamas are a well known herding animal, and are also fiercely protective of their herd. Llamas are commonly used to protect sheep, goats and other farm animals from predators.
Image courtesy of BC Wildlife Park Staff
The BC Wildlife Park is home to two female California bighorn sheep. They are permanent residents here at the Park.
Distribution: Found along the Rocky Mountains of both Canada and the United States.
Habitat: Prefer areas with little rain or snowfall. They can be found in Alpine meadows to desert terrain. They also favor steep mountain sides.
Diet: They are herbivores, eating grass, shrubs and other foliage.
The BC Wildlife Park is home to one female moose. Miss Ida was born in 2003 and came to the Park as an orphan and was too small to survive on her own in the wild. She is now a permanent resident at the Park.
Description: The moose is the largest member of the deer family with long, dark brown hair, high, humped shoulders and long legs. A pendant of hair-covered skin sometimes reaching 2 feet hangs under the throat. Each April the male moose or bull grows a set of antlers reaching 120-150 cm which he loses in the winter after rutting season.
Distribution: The moose occurs in spruce forests, swamps, aspen and willow thickets; it is built to live in rough country and is well adapted to a cold climate. It can be found throughout most of B.C.
Diet: Moose are herbivores, consuming mostly grasses and other submerged plant matter (moose have been known to dive up to 6 m for tasty plants!) They will eat leaves from maple, poplar, willow and aspen, and in the winter will chew on the layer of wood beneath the bark.
Behaviour: During the breeding season, the rut lasts from early September to late October and 8 months later 1-2 calves are born. Moose can be unpredictable and sometimes dangerous; although they generally avoid human contact, cows with calves and rutting bulls have been known to charge people, cars, horses and locomotives.
Gerrard is our resident mountain goat. He was born in 2003 at the Calgary Zoo.
Description: Mountain goats are very good climbers, and identified by their distinctive white coat. Their small hooves help them to climb to unbelievable heights. The bottoms of their hooves are covered in a velvety skin that helps them to stick to rock faces even better. Both males and females have short sharp horns used for defense and during the rut.
Distribution: Found in Northern Canada, but always found on mountain ranges, with the Rocky Mountains being a great spot to see them.
Diet: Mountain goats are herbivores, eating a variety of grasses, sedges, shrubs and leaf matter.
Behaviour: Mountain goats are herd animals. Female will often stay in groups with other females and yearlings, while males may live alone or with other males. During the breeding season they will all come together.
We have three mule deer at the Park.
Description: Mule deer and white tailed deer are very similar, however mule deer have a smaller, narrower tail with a black tip. A male's antlers will be unique in that their antlers have 2 main beams, and fork off of those beams.
Distribution: Mule deer are widely found in Western Canada an the United States, surviving in a variety of habitats.
Diet: Mule deer are herbivores, consuming a wide variety of grasses, shrubs, and leaves. Whenever possible they will eat fresh fruits and veggies, but are also well known for eating agricultural crops.
Behaviour: Are a very shy animal, tending to avoid humans. A mother deer will often leave her young unattended for long periods of time (sometimes up to 8 hours) while she leaves to forage for food. The young are programmed to sit absolutely still and silently. Fawns do not develop a scent until they are about a month old. If a fawn is discovered, the mother will not return. If a fawn is touched the mother will not accept it back. If a fawn is picked up, it will go limp and pretend to be dead. Please leave fawns in the wild where they belong.
Trigger, our 10 year old white tailed deer came to the Park in 2003 from the Vernon area. Someone had tried to keep him as a pet and soon realized that this was not a good idea. Trigger was too tame to be released and has found a permanent home at the Wildlife Park. Pancakes came to the Park as an orphaned deer in 2009.
Description: Similar to the mule deer, white tailed deer have a large white rump patch, and a large tail with a pure white underside. The male's antlers have a main beam from which tines branch from.
Distribution: Are found widely across Canada, with a large population being found in Central and Eastern Canada and the US.
Diet: Are herbivores, and eat a variety of leafy greens, leaves, woody stems and shrubs. Will also eat fruits and vegetables when available.
Behaviour: Just like the mule deer, white tailed deer often leave their young alone for long periods of time. It is admirable to want to help orphaned wildlife, however what many people don't realize is that they may be hurting an animals chance of survival in the future. Young mammals imprint on humans very easily, meaning that they learn that people are not something to be afraid of.
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