Bear in Whaletown

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A black bear is active in the Whaletown area. A Conservation Officer (CO) has been to the island to assess the situation and the Conservation Officer Service (COS) is monitoring. It is therefore essential that ALL sightings of the black bear, routine and encounters of concern, be reported immediately to the 24/7 RAPP line at 1 877 952 7277.

It is essential that islanders REMOVE ALL ATTRACTANTS to bears; please review our 5-point bear primer, attached below, for guidance. For more information go to the Wildsafe BC link

Salient points from our recent learning curve in Whaletown include:

1. Secure all livestock; use electric fencing by day and predator-proof shelters by night.
Livestock has been taken; chicken tractor-trailers and open livestock pens behind 6’ regular fencing are NOT secure overnight shelters.
The CO advises a radio be installed in your livestock area. The human voices alert a bear to human presence and can discourage continued bear presence.
Dawn & dusk are the most vulnerable times; watch the behaviour of your livestock as they will sense the bear long before you do.

2. Harvest ripening fruits daily; do not allow windfalls to accumulate on the ground.
Please, NO roadside fruit/veggie stands or coolers out with eggs; these are attractants to bears.

3. Dogs must be kept under control; on a leash when walked and inside or in predator-proof shelters by night. A dog is no match for a black bear and will simply irritate a bear and possibly bring it into direct conflict with you, the owner.
Please, NO dogs in the Whaletown Commons at this time.

Please keep yourselves and family members safe; if you encounter a bear, DO NOT RUN; back up slowly, speaking in a loud but low voice; give the bear space and DO NOT make eye contact.
This may be the first time that many of us on Cortes have had to walk through our front/backyards calling… “Hey bear!!!” but probably not the last.

Cortes Island IS black bear country and we can expect bear activity anywhere on the island throughout the fall months. The COS values the safety of islanders and the lives of wildlife, so strong incentives, i.e. serious fines, exist to ensure we do not carelessly provide attractants to bears.
Please be responsible to your fellow community members/families and to the wildlife of Cortes Island.
1-877-952-7277 is your 24/7 line for reporting bear activity.