Help protect and manage our wildlife by learning about each animal and what you need to do
Spring is here, and animals are starting to come out of hibernation and getting ready to mate.
Key species to be aware of this time of year are bears, geese, salamanders, chorus frogs and Western toads. These are just some of the nearly 4,000 animal species found in Whistler.
“Our wild animals are part of what make this place unique – and our bears in particular are iconic,” said Councillor Arthur DeJong, portfolio lead for Environment. “By taking responsible action, we can keep our bears and amphibians safe and help manage our high geese population. Thank you to everyone for doing your part.”
Keeping our bears safe and wild
What you need to know…
- Manage your attractants
- When you see a bear in a residential area, call the COS early
- Give bears space
Bears are coming out of hibernation and starting to look for food. Keeping bears safe – and wild – means everyone has to do their part. By being bear aware and working together, we can reduce human-bear conflicts in Whistler.
Watch this video to learn more about bears coming out of hibernation.
There are three things you can do this bear season to keep help keep bears safe.
- Manage your attractants. The main reason a bear will come near your home or place of work is for garbage, recycling or other food sources. Wildlife attractants include bird feeders, compost, barbeques, garbage, pet food and recycling. Things like paint cans, Citronella products, sunscreen and toothpaste can also attract bears. Don’t leave food or packaging in vehicles, including empty coffee cups. You can also report irresponsibly managed wildlife attractants to Bylaw Services at email@example.com or 604-935-8280.
- When you see a bear in a residential area, call the Conservation Officer Service (COS) early. The COS can help shepherd bears back to the wild before they become too comfortable. Getting too comfortable can happen really quickly – with one interaction – and stays with a bear for life. The earlier you call, the easier it is for the COS to shepherd the bear back into the wild and keep it from becoming too comfortable. Call the COS at 1-877-952-7277.
- Give bears space. It’s healthy to have some fear and to give space to bears. Always maintain a distance of 100 meters (or 300 feet). A bear in your yard is too close to home, and a bear should run away if it sees you. Also, keep your dog on leash – many of the human-bear conflicts in Whistler involve unleashed dogs.
Learn more at whistler.ca/bears.
Managing our Canada goose population
What you need to know…
- Report nesting locations
- Keep away from goose nests
- Avoid touching the eggs
The Resort Municipality of Whistler is asking homeowners near lakes and parks to report Canadian geese nests.
Over the past 10 years the Canada goose population in Whistler has changed its behaviour from briefly visiting the valley along its annual migration route to full-time summer residence. This has resulted in environmental, social and economic impacts, including beach closures due to water quality issues.
The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) is embarking on its fourth year of geese management through addling and deterrence. This science-based approach was developed following best practices by Environment Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service and the Humane Society.
Egg addling is a minimally invasive approach. Only eggs in early development are permitted to be addled. Adults are not harmed and continue with their regular life cycles.
The geese management program aims to reduce the population of resident Canadian geese to a more sustainable level and reduce large concentrations of geese in heavily used public areas.
Please keep away from goose nests and avoid touching the eggs. Egg addling activities are heavily regulated by the Federal Government and require a special permit.
Key to the success of the RMOW’s geese management efforts is finding new nests. The community is asked to report lone geese, pairs of geese and nesting locations on private and public land by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-935-8323.
Learn more at whistler.ca/geese.
Helping salamanders, chorus frogs and Western toads
What you need to know…
- Stay out of wetlands, particularly behind the Whistler Athletes’ Centre
- Avoid touching the amphibians
- Keep pets away
Pacific Chorus Frogs, Long-Toed Salamanders and Western Toads are getting ready to mate.
The wetlands around Whistler provide breeding grounds for these delicate amphibian species – including the wetlands behind the Whistler Athletes’ Centre in Cheakamus Crossing, wetlands in Lost Lake and Miller’s Pond, and most other wetlands around Whistler. Since the development of Cheakamus Crossing, the amphibian populations have declined and Western toads have disappeared completely from the site.
Residents are urged to help protect these species this spring by staying out of all wetlands and keeping dogs away too. Walkers and bikers can flatten amphibians emerging from ponds and ruin their natural vegetative shelters. Swimming dogs can trample eggs and tadpoles.
Amphibians play an important role in Whistler’s ecosystems as biological pest controllers and key indicator species. Tadpoles also help regulate nutrients and chemicals in pond environments.
Everyone’s actions matter. Report sightings to Environmental Stewardship at email@example.com or 604-935-8323.