The qathet Regional District, as both a coastal and mountainous community, is not only a highly sought after place to live for humans, it is also an ideal habitat for a variety of species including bears, cougars, deer, coyotes and wolves. It is expected that wildlife will always be present and will often pass through our community. However, when wildlife find unnatural food sources, they may linger in the community and potentially come into conflict with people. Our community has committed to several best practices to avoid conflicts in order to increase public safety and keep wildlife wild.
Wildlife Species in our District
Wildlife in the Backcountry
Wildlife in our backcountry can be attracted to unnatural food sources such as garbage and organics left at campsites.
To help keep our wildlife wild, we ask that you:
- Pack out what you pack in.
- Remember NOT to throw organics into the forest as they can cause food conditioned wildlife. Properly store all food and attractant items, such as coolers, deodorant and toothpaste at night.
- Never feed wildlife!
Black bears have exceptionally good memories and will often return to areas where they have received a food reward.
Wildlife Safety on Trails
Visitors and residents alike use our many trail systems for recreation purposes. We must remember that we are entering wildlife territory and we must take the necessary precautions to keep safe.
Keep yourself and wildlife safe by following these tips on trails:
- Consider an alternative trail, if bears have been sighted recently.
- Ride, run, hike, or walk in groups whenever possible. Keep your group close together and talk loudly, if you see fresh signs of bears (scat, tracks, claw marks on trees, overturned logs) nearby. Bears should avoid you, if they know you are in the area.
- Carry bear spray in an easily accessible yet protected area and know how to use it.
- Keep all dogs on leash. Dogs can provoke defensive behaviour in bears. Mountain bikers should leave dogs at home.
- Be aware that mountain bikers put themselves at higher risk for a bear encounter, because they move quickly down a trail and are relatively quiet. Make noise if you are biking.
- Take your earbuds out; remain alert and listen for signs of a bear in the area. Creeks and rivers can muffle sounds and make it harder for you to hear an approaching bear. They also make it harder for the bear to hear you, so make extra noise, especially when using trails near running water.
- On trails with limited visibility, use extra caution and make more noise to avoid surprising a bear.
Wildlife on Roadways
Living and visiting an area of BC where wildlife is plentiful is attractive, however stopping to view or photograph wild species can lead to more danger than good. Wildlife frequently feed alongside the highway or roadways and will often cross these roadways in pursuit of food sources. Motorists and cyclists should be alert at all times and anticipate wildlife. Never stop to view, photograph or feed wildlife. Slowing or stopping to view wildlife on the side of the road creates a hazard for other drivers and habituates wildlife to human presence. It is important for the safety of all to keep wildlife wary of humans and vehicles.
Check out the Wildlife Collisions Program for more information.
How and Who to Report Wildlife Conflict & Sightings
For sightings of bears, wolves, coyotes and cougars in urban areas, wildlife in conflict, or injured wildlife, please call the Conservation Officer Service (1.877.952.7277) or report online COS RAPP Line online form.
These reports are updated daily on WildSafeBC’s Wildlife Alert Reporting Program which is free for anyone to view, create non-conflict wildlife reports or to sign up for alerts.
For information on wildlife and safety, to book a presentation or to report attractant management concerns, please contact the local WildSafeBC Coordinator at email@example.com.
For Bylaw infractions that can lead to human-wildlife conflicts contact the bylaw officer at: 1.604.485.8600.
WildSafeBC Local Coordinator
WildSafeBC is the provincial leader in preventing conflict with wildlife through collaboration, education and community solutions. WildSafeBC is designed, owned and delivered by the BC Conservation Foundation as a partnership between local funding bodies and the Province of BC.
qathet Regional District
WildSafeBC is grateful for the generous support the program receives from its funding partners including the qathet Regional District, the British Columbia Conservation Foundation and the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.
The WildSafeBC Local Community Program runs May to November and delivers the following services in our community: door-to-door outreach, bear spray workshops, wildlife awareness and safety presentations, education booths at local events, and delivery of the WildSafe Ranger Program.
To learn more or book a presentation, contact:
FB: @WildSafeBC qathet Regional District
Check out the local WildSafeBC Facebook page for fun and informative events happening locally! @WildSafeBC qathet Regional District
The qathet Regional District and City of Powell River have developed a number of resources that provide detailed information on how to reduce human-wildlife conflicts.
- Safe Use of Bear Spray Video
- WildSafe Activities for kids
- BC Parks – Staying Safe in Bear Country
- BC Wildlife Act
- Keeping Poultry in the City
- WildSafeBC Photographer Code of Conduct
- Camping in Wildlife Country – poster
- Feeding Wildlife – BC Wildlife Act
Marine Species Report (to report entanglement, injury or disturbance of a marine mammal): Call 1-800-465-4336