Grizzlys, Cougars, oh and a damn good bargain

Trip Start May 31, 2011
Trip End Jun 23, 2011

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Wednesday, June 8, 2011

On our drive between Vancouver and Salmon Arm, we stopped off in Kamloops, which is a rather large town and a very popular stop between Vancouver and Banff.

We stopped off at the large shopping mall scoping out sports stores for runners for Danny. I homed in on the sale table of hiking boots with boxes of Merrell and North Face and the sign saying buy one, get one free. We picked up 2 excellent pairs of hiking shoes, North Face for me and Merrell for Danny for... wait for it... $77 CAD TOTAL! This had to be the best buy I have ever found. These shoes retail for $200+ in AUS. They will be excellent motivation for when we get back to do more hiking on the weekends.

Back on the road and 15 mins later we came across the Kamloops Wildlife Park. We thought we'd check it out, because of the luck we had last time. This park wasn't as amazing as the last but we got to see a grizzly for the first time. We couldn't even explain how scary these animals look. Their paws are about 15-20 cm long and 10-15cm wide. He was sleeping when we saw him, which I think was probably a good thing. Doubted I would be able to do any hiking in Canada if I saw him at his full height. Something interestign we read about Grizzlys is that their cubs only weight a max of 400g at birth, they are tiny and grow to be such huge animals, it's scary. They also don't go into a true hibernation over winter, just a deep sleep. We took the park's choo-choo train around the park, cos we were feeling lazy. Saw wolves, black bear, bison and cougars. After the ride we quickly rushed over to the cougars to watch them being fed. Now that was fascinating. There was a male and a female. The male was huge in comparison to the female. To be fed, they are locked up so the keeper can put the huge chucks of meat in places for them to get. Their favourite is the horse shank which the keeper put up high on a tree cos it was the male's favourite and they like them to work for their food. The keepers are never in the enclosure with the cougars. They have been imprinted which means they have been riased by humans since birth, but they do treat them like pets so they don't lose their hunting instincts. They will never be released into the wild though. The keeper explained they liked to stalk to the keepers as they passed the gates, but more scary was the male especially liked stalking children and the female liked things with wheels. Other cougars often come to the top of the mountain above the park and call out for them. Luckily, they have never come into the park. Overall, a nice little town to stop in. See pictures on flickr, they're all mixed up unfortunately but it's easier to load them up that way.   
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