British Columbia is home to more bears than any other Provence in
Canada, with an estimated population of 15,000 grizzlies and 140,000 black
bears. British Columbia is 'Bear Country' and Vancouver’s North Shore is 'Black Bear Country'. The North Shore’s vast, dense, temperate rainforest is home only to
the black bear, the smallest and most common bear species in Canada.
The North Shore is a diverse ecosystem, rich with creeks, rivers
and green spaces which create natural wildlife corridors that extend to
residential areas. It is normal to see black bears and other wildlife
travelling in or around residential areas in search of food. If you live in
bear country, you have a responsibly to make sure a bear doesn’t find a food
reward in your yard. Each year in North and West Vancouver, black bears are
killed for returning to urban areas when they find a food source.
2018 map of 'Bear in Area' signs placed by the North Shore Black Bear Society/West Vancouver Parks
Black bears are
a highly misunderstood species, and consequently, many people have an
exaggerated fear of them. In fact, black bears are smart, tolerant animals that
are adapting to increased human, dog and car activity in their home, in
order to survive.
Black bear sightings on the
North Shore are fairly common but encounters are less frequent.
Black bears expel a lot of time and energy attempting to avoid people,
usually by hiding in trees (their safe place). However, encounters between black bears
and humans will inevitably happen and it is important that you know what to do:
Stay calm – take a deep breath
Speak calmly to the bear (in any language) - identify
yourself as a human
Slowly back away – give bears lots of
personal space and an exit. Do not run, you could trigger a natural chase instinct