Now inhabiting only the mountains and boreal forests, the wolf was once the target of a relentless extermination campaign. They weigh up to 60 kilograms (132 pounds), stand up to one meter (3.2 feet) high at the shoulder, and resemble large huskies or German shepherds. Their color ranges from snow white to brown or black. Unlike other predators, they are complex and intriguing animals that adhere to a hierarchical social order and are capable of expressing happiness, humor, and loneliness. British Columbia ’s vast wilderness is home to an estimated 8,000 wolves. Ironically, the one region that has a declining population is the national parks of the Canadian Rockies .
The coyote is often mistaken for a wolf, though in fact it is much smaller, weighing only up to 15 kilograms (33 pounds). It has a pointed nose and long bushy tail. Its coloring is a mottled mix of brown and gray, with lighter-colored legs and belly. The coyote is a skillful and crafty hunter, preying mainly on rodents. Their eerie concerts of yips and howls can be heard across much of western Canada and they are often seen patrolling the edges of highways and crossing open meadows in low-lying valleys.
The smallest of the North American wild canids is the swift fox, which had been eradicated from the Canadian prairies by 1928 but was reintroduced to the southeastern corner of Alberta in 1983. Today, a small population continues to thrive in this dry and desolate landscape, but the species is still considered endangered. The red fox is slightly larger than the swift fox and is common throughout Alberta  and southern latitudes of the Northwest Territories  and the Yukon .
Rarely encountered by casual hikers, cougars (known in other parts of North America as mountain lions, pumas, or catamounts) measure up to 1.5 meters (5 feet) long. The average male weighs 75 kilograms (165 pounds) and the female 55 kilograms (120 pounds). The fur generally ranges in color from light brown to a reddish-tinged gray, but occasionally black cougars are reported. Cougars are versatile hunters whose acute vision takes in a peripheral span in excess of 200 degrees. The cougar is a solitary animal with distinct territorial boundaries. Although this limits its population density, there are more cougars than ever as the animal expands its traditional range. The cougar population of Vancouver Island  is the densest of anywhere in North America, and the species is present as far east as the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies .
The elusive lynx is identifiable by its pointy black ear tufts and an oversized tabby-cat appearance. The animal has broad, padded paws that distribute its weight, allowing it to float on the surface of snow. It weighs up to 10 kilograms (22 pounds), but appears much larger because of its coat of long, thick fur. The lynx, uncommon but widespread throughout the region, is a solitary creature that prefers the cover of subalpine forests, feeding mostly at night on snowshoe hares and other small mammals.