Powerful photos show wildlife after Alberta wildfire

elk after wildfire Dan Rafla/Parks Canada

This summer has been an extremely active fire season. With more than 45,000 people displaced by the wildfires in B.C. and Alberta, the devastation has been on the forefront of many homeowner and landowners’ minds.

But people might not think to consider the implications these wildfires can have for animal populations.

Recently, Parks Canada provided some insight into the status of wildlife post-fire. In a series of photos, larger mammals like deer, big horn sheep, and black bears are shown navigating the scorched landscape of Wateron Lakes National Park, which was ravaged by the Kenow Mountain Wildfire earlier this fall.

A big horn sheep among the burned tree trunks of Waterton Lakes National Park. (Dan Rafla/Parks Canada)

The photos not only show animals travelling through previously burned areas, but also highlight the altered feeding habits of large scale predators like black bears. While Parks Canada has been forced to euthanize some injured animals, these animals and those killed by fire are left on the landscape as a food source for the surviving carnivores.

Black bears scavenge a meal from an elk carcass left behind by the Kenow Mountain Wildfire. (Dan Rafla/Parks Canada)

This series serves as a reminder that the devastation felt throughout our communities are shared by our animal neighbours. The striking images also remind us that we, like the bears, deer, and big horn sheep, will always return to rebuild our homes.

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