Return to the Wild - Evolving perspectives on Canadian wildlife


About our themes

Compelling stories about wildlife in Canada have been a staple of Canadian Geographic since the publication of the first issue in 1930. Throughout the years, specific themes have recurred.

For this virtual exhibit, seven notable themes are explored and linked to species particularly affected: climate change; conservation; cultural perception; foreign species; habitat change; science and understanding; and urbanization.

Themes throughout the years

Many of the themes have long been on the minds of Canadian Geographic writers and readers. An article about conservation, for example, appeared in the third issue, in July 1930. Others, such as climate change, have become more topical in recent years. Ties between some themes and organisms are clear, such as habitat change and barren ground caribou. Others are less obvious yet still relevant, such as cultural perception and the harp seal.

Mapping our themes

Canadian Geographic’s well-researched and beautifully executed maps often further explore the themes and, in doing so, educate. The effect of urbanization on certain species, for example, quickly becomes clear when depicted visually. In the January/February 1997 issue, for instance, a composite satellite image taken 830 kilometres from Earth shows city lights across the world. From this map comes a striking impression of the global spread of urbanization. Exploring the ties between the themes and various species is exciting and important.