September/october 2017, Canadian Geographic’s annual wildlife issue
Canadians love their wildlife. And if there was one theme we were certain would be among our six special editions celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary this year, that was it. Wildlife is a perennial theme anyway, and why change? Canada’s flora and fauna offer much to celebrate, interesting issues to explore and amazing images. The September/october issue delivers on all those fronts. Start with the cover feature photo essay by Michelle Valberg, Canadian Geographic Photographer-in-residence, on the Yukon’s so-called ice grizzlies. From about mid-september to the end of October each year, hungry bears looking to fatten up for hibernation head for the Fishing Branch River. There they feast on a late-season run of chum salmon, which are attracted to the river by highly oxygenated waters that don’t freeze. What does freeze, however, is the bears’ wet hair, encrusting the animals in hundreds of tiny icicles and making them a sight to behold. A similarly great sight? That of the return of bison to Alberta’s Banff National Park. Niki Wilson’s feature explores how the reintroduction came to pass, what it means for the park today and how the species will alter the park’s future. Meanwhile, Leslie Anthony investigates Canadian connections to the world’s illegal wildlife trade — which more often than not involves endangered species and is estimated to be worth billions of dollars per year — and profiles the work of Sheldon Jordan, the director general of wildlife enforcement for Environment Canada and chair of INTERPOL’S wildlife crime working group. Of course, there’s much, much more, too.
An ice-covered grizzly pauses between dips in Yukon’s Fishing Branch River ( top). A bison kicks up a spray of snow after being released into Banff National Park ( above).