The qathet Regional District is both a coastal and mountainous community. It is not only a highly sought after place to live for humans, but also an ideal habitat for a variety of species including bears, cougars, deer, coyote, marten, otters, squirrels, mice and many others. Wildlife is always 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. Black bears, in particular, have exceptionally good memories and will often return to areas where they have received a food reward.
To help keep our wildlife wild, please:
- Pack out what you pack in. Consider leaving your campsite cleaner than you found it
- Don’t leave organics into the forest. Things like banana or orange peels can attract wildlife.
- Store your food and other items that could attract wildlife (e.g. deodorant and toothpaste) in a way that wildlife can’t get at them. Where available, use the special bearproof storage lockers. Alternatively, hang your items in a drybag from a tree limb
- Never feed wildlife… a fed animal is a dead animal!
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 need take the necessary precautions to keep safe.
Keep yourself and wildlife safe by following these tips on trails:
- If they know you are in the area, bears should avoid you, however…
- If bears have been sighted recently, consider taking an alternative trail
- Whenever possible, hike, ride, run or walk in groups . Keep your group close together and talk loudly, especially if you see fresh signs of bears (scat, tracks, claw marks on trees, overturned logs) nearby.
- Carry bear spray. Know where it is and how to use it.
- Keep dogs on a leash. Dogs can provoke defensive behavior in bears.
- Riding your bike? 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. If cycling, strongly consider leaving your dogs at home.
- Remain alert and listen for wildlife. 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. Take your earbuds out.
- On trails with limited visibility, use extra caution and make more noise to avoid surprising a bear.
Wildlife on Roadways
The qathet region is blessed with plentiful wildlife. Animals frequently feed alongside roadways. Slowing or stopping on the side of the road creates a hazard for others and habituates wildlife to human presence. It is important for the safety of all to keep wildlife wary of humans and vehicles. Stopping to view or photograph wild species can lead to more danger than good. Motorists and cyclists should be alert at all times and anticipate wildlife.
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 BC Conservation Officer Service (COS) at 1.877.952.7277 or complete the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) online form.
These reports are updated daily on WildSafeBC’s Wildlife Alert Reporting Program. This program 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
For bylaw infractions that can lead to human-wildlife conflicts in the qathet region, please 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.
Check out the local WildSafeBC Facebook page for fun and informative events happening locally!
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
- WildSafeBC Photographer Code of Conduct
- Camping in Wildlife Country Highlights
- Feeding Wildlife – BC Wildlife Act
Marine Species Report (to report entanglement, injury or disturbance of a marine mammal): Call 1-800-465-4336