The island is home to a number of dangerous animals and special care and attention should be taken to ensure we do not affect or interrupt their natural habitats. There are some simple guidelines to follow to keep both the wildlife and yourself safe.
- DO NOT FEED ANY WILDLIFE!
- A FED BEAR IS A DEAD BEAR!
- CHECK FOR BEAR ACTIVITY BEFORE YOU START YOUR HIKING TRIP.
- KEEP FOOD LOCKED UP!
- KEEP SMALL CHILDREN AND PETS CLOSE!
- REMAIN CALM. DO NOT RUN OR CLIMB A TREE.
- IT IS AGAINST THE LAW TO FEED WILDLIFE.
- Male Black Bears: 60–300 kg
- Female Black Bears: 40–180 kg
- Up to 2 m long
Calling the island home for around 10,000 years, the Black Bears on Vancouver Island are larger and darker than Black Bears found on the mainland of Canada. They feast on salmon, berries, crabs, roots, and shoots. The hotspots for seeing Black Bears are: Cape Scott Park, Sooke, Pacific Rim National Park, and Gold River. Approximately 7,000 black bears currently live on Vancouver Island. Find out more
VANCOUVER ISLAND WOLF
- Roughly 0.6 to 0.8 m high
- 1.2 to 1.5 m from nose to tail
- Weighs roughly 27kg
Similar to it's relative the Grey Wolf, the Vancouver Island Wolf is found in Northern and Western forested areas of the island. Although rare to see, it is not uncommon to see a wolf on a wildlife tour in Clayquot or Barkley Sound. These awesome wolves feed on Deer, Elk, and sometimes small rodents. Find out more
- Males - 1.5 m, Females - 1.4 m
- Males - up to 45 kg, Females - up to 32.6 kg
- Average life span: Males - 10 to 15 years, Females - 15 to 20 years.
Almost driven to extinction from hunting in the 1900's, the sea otter off the Coast of BC has made a strong comeback over the past few decades. These small marine mammals have incredibly dense fur (the main reason they were hunted) to keep them warm. Generally brown in colour, with a white face, they are found off the West Coast of Vancouver Island from Cape Scott to Barkley Sound, and as far south a Victoria. The sea otter is a keystone species on our coast. Sea otters eat clams, mussels, chitons, snails, prawns, crabs, abalone, sea urchins, squid, and sea star legs. Find out more
COUGAR (mountain Lion)
- Average male 57 kg, female is closer to 45 kg
- Large adult males may measure 2.7 m in length, including a 0.7m tail
Vancouver Island is home to the highest concentration of cougars in the world. Appearing reddish brown in colour, a fully grown male weighs around 70 kg. Cougars eat almost any prey they can capture, but prefer the Vancouver Island black-tailed deer. Cougars are large enough to attack adults and special care and attention should be taken when in cougar country. Find out more
- Wing Span: 1.8-2.3 m
- Female Weight: 5.8 kg
- Male Weight: 4.1 kg
Bald Eagles make their nests in large trees near big bodies of water. As you can imagine, Vancouver Island has plenty of space for these huge birds. Bald Eagles nests can be seen up and down the coast and can be over 1.2 m across. They feed on fish, ducks, snakes, and turtles. They will also eat rabbits, muskrats, and dead animals. Adults are instantly recognizable by their white heads, brown bodies, and yellow beaks. Bald Eagles can be spotted all over Vancouver Island. Find out more
ORCA (killer whale)
- Black and White in colour
- Weighing up to 6 tons
- Grows to between 7 - 10 m long
Vancouver Island is home to pods of resident Orca whales and plays temporary host to transient Orca whales making their way North. Resident Orca's can be seen by taking a whale watching tour out of Victoria Harbour and can also be seen on the East and West Coasts of the Island. Orcas are easily spotted by their tall dorsal fin and black-white colouring. Killer whales feed on sea birds, squid, octopuses, sea turtles, sharks, rays and fish. They also eat most marine mammals, such as seals. Find out more
- Average length - 12-18 m
- Weigh as much as 44 tons
- Small dorsal fin on back
Humpback Whales can be spotted off the coast of the island as they use the feeding grounds to stock up on food during their migration. They are baleen whales which means they have bristles instead of teeth. They eat small fish, krill, salmon, herring, mackerel, and capelin. These whales hunt and feed during the summer months in cold waters and migrate toward warmer tropical areas during the winter months to mate and bear offspring. Humpbacks love to breach out of the water and show off their aerial skills. Find out more
- Around 13-14 m in length
- Adults weigh around 40 tons
The Gray Whale is a dark gray colour (surprise!) with large white patches covering its body. They are insulated with blubber up to 0.25 m thick. They have a small dorsal hump located towards the end of its back. They dive to the bottom of the sea floor to scoop up sediments and filter out their prey. They are common to see on the West Coast of the island during March - September and can be seen on tours from leaving from Victoria, Tofino, and Ucluelet. Find out more