This page was last reviewed on November 25, 2020.
Immediately report threatening wildlife where there is a risk to public safety to the Conservation Officer 24 hour toll-free line at 1-877-952-7277.
All bear and cougar sitings in the Village may be reported to the 24 hour toll-free line at 1-877-952-7277.
The Village partners with WildSafeBC to provide community education and conflict prevention services. Check out the WildSafeBC website for more information.
You can help reduce human-bear conflicts and prevent bears from being destroyed by removing some of the things around your home that attract bears.
Find more about bears safety and how to manage your bear attractants at WildSafeBC.
Garbage and Compost
- Store garbage and organics in a secure building until the morning of pick-up day.
- If you must store your waste outside, store it in a bear-resistant container.
- Keep your solid waste containers clean.
- Freeze smelly items and add to the bin only on the morning of collection.
- Don’t add meat products or cooked food to compost, turn it regularly and keep it covered.
- Rinse all recycling material before placing in your recycling container to reduce odours.
- Find out more about securing your household waste
Fruit trees and Compost
- Pick ripe and fallen fruit daily.
- Remove unused fruit trees.
- If you have a backyard compost, maintain an odourless pile, turn regularly, and keep covered.
- Contact the LUSH Valley Fruit Tree Program for help picking your fruit
- Use birdfeeders only in winter.
- Keep ground free of seeds.
Barbeque and Freezers
- Clean BBQ grill after each use.
- Store covered in a secure area.
- Store your freezer in a secure area where bears can’t reach it
- Bring pet dishes inside and clean up any spillage.
- Store pet food indoors.
Bear Encounter Basics
WildSafeBC tells us that if you do have a bear encounter to remember these safety basics: Assess what type of encounter it is – defensive or predatory.
- A defensive encounter will usually be marked by a lot of noise by the bear and a head on rush at you.
- Hold your ground and pull out your bear spray and release the safety
- Speak to the bear in a loud low voice “Whoa – you’d better back off”
- If the bear continues its charge and closes to within 5-10 meters deploy your bear spray in a short burst, aiming from the ground up to create a wall between you and the bear. When the bear retreats, head back to your vehicle and contact the Conservation Officer Reporting line as soon as possible. Alert others in the area to the presence of the bear.
- If the bear breaks off its charge before you have to deploy your spray – take a step or two back away from the bear. Continue to speak in a low voice. Do not make direct eye contact with the bear. Keep your bear spray at the ready. Once the bear knows you are not a threat it should leave or return to what it was protecting. Continue to back away and keep an eye on the bear. Return to your vehicle and alert the authorities and your co-workers as to the presence of the bear.
When to report a bear
If a bear is threatening call the BC Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-RAPP (7277), the Comox Valley RCMP at 250-338-1321 or the Cumberland Animal Control Officer (weekday/daytime) at 250-336-2291.
Cougars are wide ranging animals and may show up in the Village from time to time. If they are passing through it is important that they do not find food that may encourage them to stay.
- Feed pets indoors.
- Keep your pets indoors, especially at night.
- Cougars may feed on rodents, which are attracted to bird feeders.
- If you keep chickens or small livestock, store all your feed in a secure location and ensure feeding areas are clean and free of attractants.
- Never feed deer or other possible prey species for cougars.
If you meet a cougar:
- Never approach a cougar. Although cougars will normally avoid a confrontation, all cougars are unpredictable. Cougars feeding on a kill may be dangerous.
- Always give a cougar an avenue of escape.
- Stay calm. Talk to the cougar in a confident voice.
- Pick all children up off the ground immediately. Children frighten easily and their rapid movements may provoke an attack.
- Do not run. Try to back away from the cougar slowly. Sudden movement or flight may trigger an instinctive attack.
- Do not turn your back on the cougar. Face the cougar and remain upright.
- Do all you can to enlarge your image. Don’t crouch down or try to hide. Pick up sticks or branches and wave them about.
If a cougar behaves aggressively:
- Arm yourself with a large stick, throw rocks, speak loudly and firmly. Convince the cougar that you are a threat not prey.
- If a cougar attacks, fight back! Many people have survived cougar attacks by fighting back with anything, including rocks, sticks, bare fists, and fishing poles.
Cougars are a vital part of our diverse wildlife. Seeing a cougar should be an exciting and rewarding experience, with both you and the cougar coming away unharmed. However, if you do experience a confrontation with a cougar, feel threatened by one, or have a sighting to report immediately call the RAPP Line (BC Conservation Officer Service) at 1-877-952-7277.Search again