About Bears | Bear Encounters | About Cougars | Cougar Encounters
Tofino Bear and Cougar Safety
Black bears and cougars frequent the wilderness of Tofino and Vancouver Island. Remembering that we are in their home and respecting their right to it is the first step in bear and cougar safety.
||About Tofino Black Bears
* Weigh up to 600 pounds
* Short Claws (still very big)
* Like open spaces in forests
1. Watch for bear signs
2. Never approach a cub
3. Be careful near berry patches
4. Be careful at banks of streams
5. Never approach fresh kill
6. Carry a noisemaker
7. Travel with others
8. Leave your pet at home or close by your side
9. Keep food in a bear-proof cache
10. Be careful in high winds
11. Use unscented body products
on a trail, watch for signs of bears - droppings, fresh tracks, strong scent.
Be careful near berry patches or the banks of streams and rivers.
Never approach a fresh kill.
Carry a noisemaker, such as a bell, or a tin can filled with a few pebbles. Attach it to your walking stick or pack.
The human voice is one of the most unfamiliar sounds in the wilderness, so talking or singing can be effective.
Be extra careful in thick bush.
Never travel alone through wilderness country.
Do not let children straggle far behind or rush ahead.
Leave your pet at home. The excited barking of a dog can enrage a bear. Cougars also find pet dogs easy prey.
Store food in the trunk of your vehicle, or make a bear-proof cache by suspending food at least 10 feet off the ground.
Avoid cooking foods that give off a strong odour, use dried foods. Avoid cooking near your tent.
In a campground, use garbage disposal facilities. In the back country, hikers are must pack out all garbage.
Do not pitch your camp where you find fresh tracks or droppings or along a trail clearly used by animals.
Be particularly careful in high winds, when an animal may not be able to pick up your scent soon enough to avoid you.
Never approach a cub, even if it seems to be alone, and never get between a cub and its mother.
Most people are not aware of their role in the destruction of bears. If humans allow bears to access non-natural food sources such as garbage, they help to create "problem" bears. In most cases, "problem" bears are destroyed.
Wildlife Service: Hinterland Who's Who
Extensive information about black bears.
If you meet a bear, it will most likely run away.
But bears can be unpredictable. Learn to recognize the signs of a bear attack and above all:
2. Face the bear without making eye contact
3. Back away slowly
4. Do not challenge the bear by making eye contact
5. Do not run
signs of attack are growling, with ears laid back.
A bear rearing up on its hind legs is probably taking a more careful sniff to make certain of who you are.
Running or waving of the arms will only provoke a bear.
If the bear is close, back away slowly, talking as calmly as possible, towards a tree or behind rocks or into a gully.
Do not do anything suddenly.
If a bear should cross your trail. Stop and wait another bear may be behind it and coming after it.
You don't want to get between bears, especially Mom and cubs.
Should a charge be unavoidable, protect your stomach, thighs and neck by lying down on the ground in a hunched position with knees drawn up to the chest and hands clasped over your neck.
The bear may try to maul you but it will do less damage if you can manage to lie still.
Usually the bear will retreat immediately after the attack.
Our Own, Personal, Tofino Bear Encounter
In July 2003 I was sitting up from the water on our beach looking at the inlet with my husband. The beach was rocky and we had made a lot of noise when we walked on it earlier. My husband said to me quietly, 'Look'. There was a black bear walking along the ocean edge and in our direction up the beach. It was not making a sound walking over the rocks!
I thought back to the tips on this page. We sat still with our heads lowered, not looking straight at the bear (we could not help taking sidelong glances). It passed in front of us, within 20 feet, just going about it's day. We breathed a sigh of relief then excitement that we had been graced by the presence of such a magnificent animal.
Cougars are the largest of several wild cats living in British Columbia. Their fur colour ranges from reddish-brown to grey-brown, with lighter under parts and no markings. The long tail is a prominent feature.
Cougars are rarely seen and attacks on humans are rare. Documented attacks
usually show the cougar is injured or starving. It is important not to let small
children venture alone into the bush where cougars are known to be present.
Canadian Wildlife Service: Hinterland Who's Who
Extensive information about cougars.
Make yourself as BIG as possible
2. Wave Your Arms
3. Grab a stick and wave it too
4. Slowly Back Away Facing the Cougar
5. MAKE NOISE
6. Stay Calm
7. Do not turn and run
Cougars are rarely seen in the wild, but encounters do happen.
If you should come across a cougar, the best way to repel it is to make yourself look as big as possible by waving your arms.
If possible, grab a nearby stick and wave it too. Slowly back away. Make noise.