My next adventure here at Grouse Mountain I knew was going to be an eye-opening one as I was getting the opportunity to tag along with one of the Wildlife Rangers for a morning. The Wildlife Rangers are integral members of the Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife working with the education teams, giving informational talks and looking after the health and well-being of the Refuge residents including Grizzly bears Grinder and Coola.
My day started when I met Wildlife Ranger Tracie at the base of Grouse Mountain and we quickly went to pick up and prepare the food for the three Timber wolves that are located in a habitat at the top of the parking lot. Their meal consisted of a lot of raw red meat. Tasty for wolves but not so appealing to humans who like cooked food! Walking through the parking lot over to the wolf habitat, I did not know what to expect or how the feeding would happen. When we arrived, all three of the wolves, Alpha, Omega and Beta were looking at us waiting for their daily feast. We opened the locked deer fencing and stepped inside the habitat where I came face to face with these amazing animals. It was so cool to be that close! Each wolf patiently waited to scarf down a large amount of meat when their turn came. Alpha, the leader of the pack, had to be fed first. Then Beta and finally Omega. I made juicy raw meatballs which were thrown to them and they each feasted on a calf leg too. Yum!
We then jumped on the Skyride to meet with the Grizzly bears, Grinder and Coola. I thought that it would take a while to spot them in their huge habitat, but they were very easy to find. We then head into the Wildlife Center to prepare their meal which is massive. They are fed 10 carrots, 10 apples (stickers off please!), 10 sweet potatoes and a large portion of dog kibble (to get some protein and vitamins). We put all the veggies into buckets and scattered them around the habitat, making the bears forage for their food. It was quite funny when I saw Grinder testing a floating snow iceberg to see if it was steady enough to use as a landing pad to grab an apple from a small pond, compared to Coola who was swimming around to retrieve his apples. We then walked over to the bear den where we put the kibble. I got to walk inside the bear den and pour the kibble into separate piles on the opposite side of the dens, how cool is that?!
The last stop in my Wildlife Ranger adventure was to visit the birds. This was a pretty cool experience as I had never been so close to such amazing birds before. All of the birds at the Grouse Mountain Refuge are kept in a newly built aviary, with perches and sun/no sun light depending on the type of bird. As you walk down the hall of the aviary you are able to see the falcons, the owls, the hawks and the vulture. Unfortunately, I was not visiting during their feeding time, but it was awesome regardless.
If you haven’t already had the chance to visit all the wildlife that are part of the Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife, I would definitely make the trip up to the main plateau and take the time to see these amazing animals. You can learn so much so quickly just by asking the Wildlife Rangers a couple questions as they have all of the answers and I learned so much in my short time with Tracey.