Columbian Black-tailed Deer© Parks Canada
The wide variety of terrestrial and marine habitats mean that the wildlife found in the Gulf Islands is diverse. Orcas, porpoises, sea lions, seals and otters call the surrounding waters home; eagles, falcons and turkey vultures soar overhead. Thousands of resident and migratory species of seabirds, shorebirds and waterfowl thrive on the bounty of the nutrient-rich ocean waters.
On land, large predators are uncommon, causing significant alteration to island ecosystems as prey species multiply unchecked. Overabundant deer populations reduce the forest understory in their search for suitable food plants. This not only changes the composition of the forest plants but also changes the structure and habitat features so important to other species. Overall, the Gulf Islands have 15 COSEWIC-listed Endangered species, 10 Threatened species and 13 species of Special Concern. These species run the gamut from butterflies to snakes, from shellfish to ferns, and from bats to killer whales. Sharptailed snakes are just one of the endangered species currently being monitored in the national park reserve.
Black Oystercatcher© Parks Canada / Mark Hobson 1985
It's seal pup season!