Animal stories are never in short supply in this great wild province. 2013 had more than its share, from a swimming cougar, to a moose invading a Safeway, to the rare spotting of a right whale off B.C.'s coast.

Here are the year's best animal stories.

Check out B.C.'s best animal stories of 2013. The story continues below the slideshow:

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  • April: Safeway Moose Spooks Smithers Shoppers

    Safeway shoppers were spooked when a moose found its way inside and started wandering through the produce section before a clerk led it out of the store with an apple. Sadly, the animal had to be put down by the B.C. Conservation Officer Service.

  • June: Black Bear Opens Car Door In Maple Ridge

    A black bear became a YouTube star after being filmed opening the door to a pickup truck in Maple Ridge. It was a great reminder to lock your doors and windows!

  • June: Orcas In Vancouver Harbour Stun The Internet

    You expect to see orcas alongside the ferries, but rarely do they come this close to the city. Social media went wild at the sight of a pod of killer whales that made its way under the Lions Gate Bridge and into Coal Harbour.

  • June: Rats Must Die On Haida Gwaii

    Parks Canada issued a death sentence for rats on Haida Gwaii out of concern that the rodents would wipe out the ancient murrelet, a bird species that nests underground. Death was dealt from above as rat poison was dropped from the sky.

  • July: Cougar Swimming In Nootka Sound

    You're not safe from cougars anywhere in the wild, least of all in the water, as a paddling kitty proved in July.

  • August: Skimboarding Bulldog Karma Hits Parksville Beach

    Karma the bulldog showed some mad skills on a skimboard in a Youtube video from last August. Her owner Janene Ritchie said the mutt's a natural.

  • August: Deer Encounter Near Vernon Is Incredibly Cute

    A Vernon teen was chilling on the beach at Kalamalka Lake when he made a "deer" friend that wouldn't stop nuzzling him. Sadly, the buck met with a grim end: the animal was euthanized when it became <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/09/12/friendly-john-deer-coldstream-killed_n_3914286.html" target="_hplink">too habituated to humans</a>.

  • August: Motorcyclist Hits Bear, Helmet Cam Captures It

    A motorcyclist with a helmet cam was looking at his speedometer when a bear ran right into his path. The camera captured the driver flipping and falling all over the road, suffering a concussion and broken bones in the process.

  • September: Dogs Chase Cougar Off Victoria Property

    A mountain lion was no match for two Victoria dogs that scared the big cat off their owner's property in the Highlands area.

  • September: NHL Player Clayton Stoner Caught Holding Grizzly's Corpse

    Minnesota Wild forward Clayton Stoner made no apologies after photos emerged that showed him holding up a grizzly bear's severed head and paw after he shot it in the Kwatna Estuary on B.C.'s central coast.

  • September: Cougar Drags Deer Near Powell River

    YouTube users had a first-hand look at nature's savagery when a cougar was caught dragging a deer's corpse along a road near Powell River. The scariest moment came when the cat shot a menacing glance right into the camera, as though the videographer had interrupted its meal.

  • September: Baby Cougar Near Powell River Is Incredibly Cute

    Cougars can be cute, too, at least when they're young. Some hikers were driving back from Emma Lake near Powell River when they spotted a cub by the side of the road, all alone in the rain and crying out for its mommy. Needless to say, the hikers didn't stay for long.

  • October: Shot Sea Otter Rescued By Vancouver Aquarium

    A sea otter was left fighting for its life after it was shot in the head. Vancouver Aquarium researchers found it near Tofino and nursed it to a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/12/04/shot-sea-otter-walter-vancouver-aquarium_n_4386707.html" target="_hplink">stable condition</a>.

  • October: Squamish Abandoned Dog Recovers

    Poor Harold. The little dachshund mix was found wandering a road outside Squamish, injured, neglected and suffering from a life-threatening infection before he was taken to the SPCA. The society put out a call for donations to pay for his treatment and animal lovers responded in kind, donating over $6,000 to exceed a fundraising goal of $2,000.

  • November: World's Rarest Whale Seen Near Victoria

    Reseachers with Fisheries and Oceans Canada spotted rarely-seen North Pacific right whales on two occasions: once near Haida Gwaii and another time near Victoria where the mammal was mixed in with a group of humpbacks. These were the only confirmed sightings of the whales in Canadian waters since 1951.

  • November: Vancouver Aquarium Releases Seal Pups Back Into Wild

    The Vancouver Aquarium released seven Harbour Seal pups into the ocean, equipping five of them with GPS to track their movements in the wild. The animals looked a little silly with the electronic contraptions on their heads, but we can see the good intentions here.

  • November: Dolphin 'Super Pod' Amazes B.C. Ferry Passengers

    Ferry passengers travelling from Galiano Island to Tsawwassen were treated to quite the show when an estimated 1,000 Pacific White-sided dolphins swam alongside the vessel. The pod could be seen for about three minutes before it swam away.

  • November: GEESE TSUNAMI

    Richmond's famous snow geese went viral when a massive flock of the invasive birds flew across a field at Dixon Elementary School.

  • December: Bobcat Stuck In Blinds

    A bobcat turned scaredy cat when it was stuck in the basement of a Nelson home. The homeowner came downstairs with her dog, which scared the wild feline up the wall and into some blinds, where it became entangled. It took a MacGyver-like contraption to cut the animal loose.

  • NEXT: Best Dumb B.C. Stories Of The Year

  • March: Fugitive Lookalikes Caught In B.C.

    California fugitives Dustin Ilar and Daniel Mota thought they could fool police by passing themselves off as each other while hiding out in Victoria. They reportedly hoped that police would question Ilar thinking he was Mota and be forced back to the drawing board. Alas, no dice. Victoria police arrested the pair and handed them over to the Canada Border Services Agency.

  • March: Victoria Bank Robber Returns To Scene Of Failed Heist

    A would-be robber entered a Victoria bank and asked a teller for feedback on how his heist was going. Confronted with silence (and a lack of cash), he fled the scene, only to return, peer in the window and check on the progress of the investigation. He was arrested shortly after.

  • March: Lululemon's Sheer Pants

    Lululemon found itself bending over backward to recover its reputation after it emerged that its Lu-On stretch pants were too sheer. CEO Christine Day said in an earnings call that the only way to tell whether they were transparent was if customers <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/21/lululemon-sheer-pant_n_2924326.html?ir=Canada%20British%20Columbia" target="_hplink">bent over</a>. And that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/03/26/lululemon-recall-customer_n_2955731.html?ir=Canada%20British%20Columbia" target="_hplink">allegedly happened</a> in some outlets, as angry customers claimed on the company's Facebook page that sales clerks instructed them to bend and prove that you could see through the garments. The company later pulled the items off their shelves and re-sold them as "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/11/13/lululemon-second-chance-pant_n_4267342.html" target="_hplink">Second Chance</a>" pants.

  • April: Mischa Popoff Tries To Defend Himself

    It was bad enough when Mischa Popoff made offensive comments about single moms. The dumped B.C. Conservative candidate dug himself into a deeper hole when he made an unintentionally hilarious YouTube video in an effort to defend himself. The video shows Popoff claiming he was being bullied, hammering the point home with a bull by his side. The message, however, was lost as the bull began to ram him in the butt as he spoke.

  • May: Christy Clark Runs A Red Light At Her Son's Urging

    Christy Clark threw caution to the wind when, at her son's urging, she ran a red light through an empty intersection with a Vancouver Sun reporter sitting in the back of the car. It gave the NDP some fuel to use against the premier in the election campaign. But that was quickly forgotten when...

  • May: "I Was 35 Years Old"

    ...Adrian Dix blamed his decision to forge a memo on being "35 years old." The quote gave the B.C. Liberals one of the most effective attack ads in the campaign: "I'm under 35 and I take responsibility."

  • May: The Pollsters Were So, So Wrong

    All along, the pollsters told us we could be certain of a B.C. NDP victory in the May provincial election. But the results stunned us all with a B.C. Liberal majority that few saw coming. This tweet summed it up perfectly: "Time to update an old Reagan joke... friend needed Halloween costume so put egg on his face and went as a pollster.."

  • July: Badminton Fight At Canada Open Doubles Final Sparks Probe

    The world wasn't watching, but it did after badminton players Bodin Issara and Maneepong Jongjit came to blows at the Canada Open in Richmond. Issara received a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/08/06/bodin-issara-maneepong-jongjit-badminton-fight_n_3714000.html" target="_hplink">two-year ban</a> from the sport and Jongjit was suspended for three months.

  • October: Northern Gateway Poetry Makes The Muses Weep

    Enbridge proved itself to be worse at poetry than the Vogons when the oil giant dropped some truly pathetic free verse in an ad. The attempt was rightly (and mercilessly) mocked on Twitter.

  • November: Chip Wilson's Big, Stupid Mouth

    Lululemon founder Chip Wilson went on Bloomberg TV and said that "some women's bodies just actually don't work" in the yogawear retailer's clothes. Wilson <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/11/08/chip-wilson-apologizes_n_4243695.html" target="_hplink">expressed regret</a> for the comments, saying he was "sad for the repercussions of my actions," but it wouldn't be long before he was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/12/10/chip-wilson-resigns-lululemon_n_4417003.html?ir=Canada%20British%20Columbia" target="_hplink">out as company chairman</a>.

  • NEXT: Best Good News B.C. Stories Of 2013

  • January: Ukrainian Teen Spots Rare Discovery On B.C.'s Ocean Floor

    Teenager Kirill Dudko from Donetsk, Ukraine made waves as a citizen scientist after spotting an elephant seal eat a hagfish on B.C.'s ocean floor, and emailing researchers in Victoria to alert them to this rare sighting.

  • February: Fire Splash Photo In B.C. Goes Viral

    B.C. photographer Rob Leslie's spectacular "fire splash" picture showed a rock hitting the water and apparently setting the sea aflame. No surprise it was named "National Geographic Photo of the Day."

  • February: Tad Milmine, Gay RCMP Officer, Fights Bullying

    B.C. RCMP Const. Tad Milmine took his "Bullying Ends Here" campaign to over 15,000 students in Canada and the U.S., teaching schoolkids about how to stand up to harassment.

  • February: Cody Green Dances With The Stars At The Oscars

    Cody Green danced up close and personal with Catherine Zeta-Jones at the 2013 Oscars. The Surrey-raised performer was handpicked by awards choreographer Rob Ashford because of his work on Broadway. Green had previously performed in "West Side Story" and "Grease."

  • June: Bob Erb Gives Huge Tip To Diner Owner After Lotto Win

    Terrace's Bob Erb made last year's good news list when he won a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/12/04/bob-erb-lotto-max-winner_n_2238220.html" target="_blank">$25 million Lotto Max</a> jackpot. He made this year's list, not by good luck, but through a good deed, when he left a $10,000 tip for the owner of a Saskatchewan diner whose daughter had been recently diagnosed with cancer.

  • June: Megan Kelly Yearbook Quote From Harry Potter Goes Viral

    Parksville's Megan Kelly turned the traditional Yearbook quote on its head when she altered a phrase from "Harry Potter" to read, "Master has given Megan a high school diploma. Megan is freeeee!" The quote, which she posted to her Tumblr account, drew over 1.2 million views after it was shared on Imgur and Reddit.

  • June: "Hobbit House" May Be Saved Amid Townhomes

    Hobbit-lovers in Vancouver were ready to call on Gandalf to save a Tolkien-like home on King Edward Avenue after it was sold. But developer David Mooney engaged Donald Luxton, a heritage consultant, to see whether the popular home could be incorporated into a new project.

  • June: Simon Nessman Becomes Number 2 Model in the World

    2013 was a great year for models from B.C. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/01/22/ashley-diana-morris-guess-model-vancouver_n_2529880.html" target="_blank">Ashley Diana Morris</a> was named the new face of Guess, while <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/03/08/kate-bock-sports-illustrated-swimsuit-rookie-photos_n_2841052.html" target="_blank">Kate Bock</a> was voted Sports Illustrated's "Swimsuit Rookie of the Year." But Vargas Island's Simon Nessman topped them all after being ranked second in the world's male models by models.com.

  • July: Jessica Kruger, Quadriplegic Model Wins Lise Watier's "Something Sweet" Campaign

    Quadriplegic SFU student Jessica Kruger sought to prove that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/jessica-kruger/jessica-kruger-quadriplegic-model_b_3380404.html?ir=Canada%20British%20Columbia" target="_blank">"different" is beautiful</a> when she entered a contest to be the new face of Lise Watier's "Something Sweet" perfume. The Coquitlam woman beat out 400 other contestants.

  • July: Patricia Celan, B.C. Pageant Contestant, Shaves Her Head

    Patricia Celan wasn't content with a tiara. Just after winning Miss Charity BC in the Miss BC pageant, the White Rock woman had her head shaved on stage at Langley's Chief Sepass Theatre. Her message? "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/07/08/patricia-celan-miss-bc-head-shave-cancer_n_3563522.html" target="_blank">You can be beautiful, even with short hair.</a>"

  • July: Lucy Johnson, Missing B.C. Woman, Found In Yukon

    Miracles do, apparently, happen. Fifty years after she went missing, Lucy Johnson, who was found in the Yukon by her daughter Linda Evans. She was <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/b-c-woman-reunites-with-yukon-mom-missing-52-years-1.1930668" target="_hplink">reunited</a> with her daughter in September.

  • July: Jenny Stewart's Mountie Dream Comes True

    Jenny Stewart had dreamed of meeting a Mountie in Red Serge since she was 10 years old in her native Scotland. Her wish finally came true at the age of 88, when an RCMP officer wearing the force's traditional outfit visited her at a hospice in Port Alberni.

  • August: Kayla Smith's Stolen Bike Stolen Back After Spotting Craigslist Ad

    Revenge is a dish best served cold, says the old Klingon proverb. But Kayla Smith served hers with a smile when she stole back her own bike after it was lifted from Vancouver's Olympic Village and put up for sale on Craigslist. Smith met the seller, tried out the bike, then rode away and never came back.

  • September: Ann Makosinski Wins Her Category At The Google Science Fair

    Victoria whiz kid Ann Makosinski has a bright future after winning the age 15-16 category at the Google Science Fair with her hand-powered flashlight, which turns on simply by holding it. Her prize was a $25,000 scholarship that may allow her to continue her education at a major U.S. school.

  • September: Steve Thurber's Message In A Bottle Near Tofino May Be World's Oldest

    If you found the world's oldest message in a bottle, would you open it up and read it? Courtenay's Steve Thurber couldn't bear to after finding a bottle with an envelope dated Sept. 29, 1906 on Schooner's Cove Beach in Tofino. When he looked online, he discovered that the next oldest bottle was just under 98-years-old, a few years short of his 107-year-old discovery.

  • October: "Yertle The Turtle" Ban Lifted From B.C. Classrooms

    Who could deny schoolchildren the best-ever story on the subject of turtle stacking? The Prince Rupert School District, apparently. Back in 2012, a teacher in the northern B.C. town was told she could not display a quote from Dr. Seuss' "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/04/25/yertle-the-turtle-banned_n_1451745.html?ir=Canada%20British%20Columbia" target="_hplink">Yertle the Turtle</a>" that read, "I know up on top you are seeing great sights, but down here on the bottom, we too should have rights," because it was deemed too political. Common sense eventually prevailed, but not until the B.C. Teachers' Federation settled a freedom of expression grievance with the B.C. Public School Employers' Association.

  • November: Facebook Fundraisers For Erica Macklin's Family Bring Strangers Together

    Social media users stepped up in a big way for Richmond's Erica Macklin and her family when her husband Paul died from skin graft surgery complications. Members of the Facebook group <a href="https://www.facebook.com/groups/615526121805319/" target="_hplink">Richmond B.C. Bidding Wars</a>, where users normally sold furniture, toys and clothes, raised money and cooked meals for Macklin and her four children, even though many only knew her through the social network.

  • November: Emily Morris Wins Mitacs Award

    UBC student Emily Morris won the national Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation for her work on a genetic condition known as 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. Patients with the condition are missing chromosomes and suffer heart defects, immune problems and learning disabilities. They also face higher risks of psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia and psychosis. Morris's research found that geneticists with higher levels of stigma around mental illness were unlikely to discuss the psychiatric risks with patients' families.

  • November: Keian Blundell Becomes An Honourary Mountie

    Langley's Keian Blundell was diagnosed with leukemia in July 2012. His trips to the hospital in Vancouver would take him past RCMP headquarters, which led to dreams of joining the force. And the Mounties were only too happy to oblige his wish., making him a miniature, personalized red serge uniform and naming him an honourary constable.

  • November: Jessie MacIvor's Facebook Gallery Will Warm Your Heart

    Jessie MacIvor, an artist with Down Syndrome from Princeton, saw her colourful drawings go viral after she shared them on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/jessiesarts30" target="_hplink">Facebook</a>.

April: Safeway Moose Spooks Smithers Shoppers

Safeway shoppers were spooked when a moose found its way inside and started wandering through the produce section before a clerk led it out of the store with an apple. Sadly, the animal had to be put down by the B.C. Conservation Officer Service.

June: Black Bear Opens Car Door In Maple Ridge

A black bear became a YouTube star after being filmed opening the door to a pickup truck in Maple Ridge. It was a great reminder to lock your doors and windows!

June: Orcas In Vancouver Harbour Stun The Internet

You expect to see orcas alongside the ferries, but rarely do they come this close to the city. Social media went wild at the sight of a pod of killer whales that made its way under the Lions Gate Bridge and into Coal Harbour.

June: Rats Must Die On Haida Gwaii

Parks Canada issued a death sentence for rats on Haida Gwaii out of concern that the rodents would wipe out the ancient murrelet, a bird species that nests underground. Death was dealt from above as rat poison was dropped from the sky.

July: Cougar Swimming In Nootka Sound

You're not safe from cougars anywhere in the wild, least of all in the water, as a paddling kitty proved in July.

August: Skimboarding Bulldog Karma Hits Parksville Beach

Karma the bulldog showed some mad skills on a skimboard in a Youtube video from last August. Her owner Janene Ritchie said the mutt's a natural.

August: Deer Encounter Near Vernon Is Incredibly Cute

A Vernon teen was chilling on the beach at Kalamalka Lake when he made a "deer" friend that wouldn't stop nuzzling him. Sadly, the buck met with a grim end: the animal was euthanized when it became too habituated to humans.

August: Motorcyclist Hits Bear, Helmet Cam Captures It

A motorcyclist with a helmet cam was looking at his speedometer when a bear ran right into his path. The camera captured the driver flipping and falling all over the road, suffering a concussion and broken bones in the process.

September: Dogs Chase Cougar Off Victoria Property

A mountain lion was no match for two Victoria dogs that scared the big cat off their owner's property in the Highlands area.

September: NHL Player Clayton Stoner Caught In Grizzly Photos

Minnesota Wild forward Clayton Stoner made no apologies after photos emerged that showed him holding up a grizzly bear's severed head and paw after he shot it in the Kwatna Estuary on B.C.'s central coast.

September: Cougar Drags Deer Near Powell River

YouTube users had a first-hand look at nature's savagery when a cougar was caught dragging a deer's corpse along a road near Powell River. The scariest moment came when the cat shot a menacing glance right into the camera, as though the videographer had interrupted its meal.

October: Baby Cougar Near Powell River Is Incredibly Cute

Cougars can be cute, too, at least when they're young. Some hikers were driving back from Emma Lake near Powell River when they spotted a cub by the side of the road, all alone in the rain and crying out for its mommy. Needless to say, the hikers didn't stay for long.

October: Shot Sea Otter Rescued By Vancouver Aquarium

A sea otter was left fighting for its life after it was shot in the head. Vancouver Aquarium researchers found it near Tofino and nursed it to a stable condition.

October: Abandoned Dog In Squamish Recovers

Poor Harold. The little dachshund mix was found wandering a road outside Squamish, injured, neglected and suffering from a life-threatening infection before he was taken to the SPCA. The society put out a call for donations to pay for his treatment and animal lovers responded in kind, donating over $6,000 to exceed a fundraising goal of $2,000.

November: World's Rarest Whale Seen Near Victoria

Reseachers with Fisheries and Oceans Canada spotted rarely-seen North Pacific right whales on two occasions: once near Haida Gwaii and another time near Victoria where the mammal was mixed in with a group of humpbacks. These were the only confirmed sightings of the whales in Canadian waters since 1951.

November: Dolphin "Super Pod" Amazes B.C. Ferries Passengers

Ferry passengers travelling from Galiano Island to Tsawwassen were treated to quite the show when an estimated 1,000 Pacific White-sided dolphins swam alongside the vessel. The pod could be seen for about three minutes before it swam away.

November: Vancouver Aquarium Releases Seal Pups Back Into Wild

The Vancouver Aquarium released seven Harbour Seal pups into the ocean, equipping five of them with GPS to track their movements in the wild. The animals looked a little silly with the electronic contraptions on their heads, but we can see the good intentions here.

November: GEESE TSUNAMI

Richmond's famous snow geese went viral when a massive flock of the invasive birds flew across a field at Dixon Elementary School.

December: Bobcat Stuck In Blinds

A bobcat turned scaredy cat when it was stuck in the basement of a Nelson home. The homeowner came downstairs with her dog, which scared the wild feline up the wall and into some blinds, where it became entangled.

HUFFPOST BC

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