I haven’t been to the Calgary Zoo yet, because I am always a bit wary of watching animals locked up in cages. But then, I have seen so many wild animals walking around the city that I am beginning to wonder if the zoo might have an open-door policy.
One day, as I got up early, I saw a monstrous moose by the side of the road.
I don’t know if they are really dangerous, but the sheer size makes them appear quite intimidating. I was definitely happy that it was having breakfast and was thus less interested in me.
By the way, if anyone can explain the difference between a moose and an elk, I would be thankful. Not that I will be able to remember it, probably.
Much more numerous and definitely not dangerous are the deer.
Some of them even work in agriculture.
Other animals are just passing through, like the Canada geese. I was surprised to see them migrating south only in January, but they are an amazing sight (and sound), flying in large formations.
A particular phenomenon are white rabbits. They are all over town, and the story of their origin is quite peculiar. A few years ago, there was a magicians’ conference in Calgary. They performed tricks upon public demand and, as clichés are persistent, most people wanted the wizards to pull a white rabbit out of a hat. After a week, there were thousands of white rabbits roaming the streets.
Of course there are also plenty of squirrels.
Already on my first day in Calgary, walking in Nose Hill Park, I saw coyotes. A bit of a scary sight, at least for me, because I had never met them before and didn’t know how they would react. It turned out that they kept their distance.
Many people have warned me of coyotes, advising me to take baseball bats, hockey sticks or rifles with me as I go for walks. I never do that, of course, because most times, I even forget my glasses, my phone and my hat.
Also, it seems that fear of coyotes is more due to cultural heritage than realistically warranted, similar to the wolf in Europe. In Native American cultures, the coyote was an ambivalent creature, a trickster on the one hand, but also a hero or the creator’s sidekick. Anglo-Americans depicted the coyote as untrustworthy and cowardly, an image which seems to have stuck.
There have been attacks by coyotes on humans, but usually on small children. And many more humans get killed by dogs, other humans or cars.
One night, as I came home, there was a coyote hanging around the rubbish bins. I was startled at first, but the coyote seemed neither aggressive nor scared. It gave me time to take out my camera and then slowly walked away.
And then there are lions, watching over the city at sunset,
and watching over me every night.