British Columbia is the westernmost province of Canada. Situated between the Pacific Ocean and the continental divide of the Rocky Mountains, the province has a diverse geography, replete with rugged landscapes that include rocky coastlines, sandy beaches, forests, lakes, mountains, inland deserts and grassy plains. It borders the Canadian province of Alberta to the east and the Canadian territory of Yukon to the north. With an estimated population of 5.2 million as of 2021, it is Canada's third-most populous province.
Much of the province is undeveloped, so populations of many mammalian species that have become rare in much of the United States still flourish in British Columbia. Watching animals of various sorts, including a very wide range of birds, has long been popular. Bears live here, as do deer, elk, moose, caribou, big-horn sheep, mountain goats, marmots, beavers, muskrats, coyotes, wolves, mustelids, cougars, eagles, ospreys, herons, Canada geese, swans, loons, hawks, owls, ravens, harlequin ducks, and many other sorts of ducks. Smaller birds also abound. Murrelets are known from Frederick Island, a small island off the coast of Haida Gwaii.
Many healthy populations of fish are present, including salmonids such as several species of salmon, trout, char. Besides salmon and trout, sport-fishers in BC also catch halibut, steelhead, bass, and sturgeon. On the coast, harbour seals and river otters are common. Cetacean species native to the coast include the orca, humpback whale, grey whale, harbour porpoise, Dall's porpoise, Pacific white-sided dolphin and minke whale.
Some endangered species in British Columbia are: Vancouver Island marmot, spotted owl, American white pelican, and badgers.