On the Barrenlands The annual migrations of the barrenground caribou in the Northwest Territories can bring many caribou into viewing range in spring and fall. Barrenland outfitters can arrange a well-timed excursion.
In the Boreal Forest Some of the world’s last free-roaming bison browse the forest and clearings of Wood Buffalo National Park and the Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary. On Highway 3, beside the Sanctuary, you are likely to see wood bison, the largest land mammal in North America, wandering the roadside, and you may have to stop to let them cross the road.
In the Mountains On a flightseeing tour in the Mackenzie Mountains, you might spot elusive Dall's sheep and mountain goats, woodland caribou or grizzly bears. Mountain outfitters also offer trail riding, or fly in adventures, often with a family atmosphere in superb wilderness scenery.
If you sign onto a package tour with the aim of viewing Northwest Territories wildlife, your guides will explain the principles of safe, responsible encounters. They will take every precaution against negative impacts on wildlife and the environment.
Here are some of the common-sense ways in which you can help ensure a successful expedition: Wildlife tends to be more active in the morning and the evenings. While you're out on the land, stop frequently to make observations. Check for fresh droppings and tracks, and if you see them, slowly scan the landscape for movement. Take your time.
Once you spot wildlife, keep your distance. Use binoculars, spotting scopes, and telephoto lenses to get more detailed views or better photos without disturbing the wildlife or endangering yourself. Never feed our wildlife.
Wildlife Sanctuaries serve two purposes in the Northwest Territories. Territorial Sanctuaries protect threatened wildlife specis and their habitat and Territorial Preserves protect wildlife for the benefit of Aboriginal hunters and trappers. The Thelon Game Sanctuary (muskoxen) and the Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary protect animals thought to be endangered. The Peel River Reserve and the Norah Willis Michener Wildlife Preserve protect areas important to Aboriginal people.