When you come to visit British Columbia you are not only visiting some incredible terrain that encompasses impressive mountains, deserts and a stunning coastline, you are also visiting Bear country.
BC is home to the most populous of bears in all of Canada, roughly half of all Black Bears and Grizzly Bears that are in Canada actually reside in BC, in fact, the majority of the world’s Grizzlies live in Russia and this corner of Canada and of course neighbouring Alaska.
If you are thinking of coming to visit this part of the world at the end of Spring and into Summer, than there is a very good chance you will get to see some of these stunning creatures as they forage for food after their long slumber. These bears will be mighty hungry and probably looking a little thin due to their long period of inactivity.
The bears typically are in deep hibernation during the dark winter months of November and April, it is not the same sleeping time for all the bears as this depends on their location and habitat, that will dictate the length of rest they need to undertake, for example, the bears that live on Vancouver Island and the more southerly coasts of BC will likely have a shorter hibernation period, this is due to the weather not being half as cold or severe and therefore food is more accessible for a longer period of time.
The Hibernation process for the bears is quite an incredible feat. The bears generally make Dens within or close to trees, leading up to the hibernating time the bears will eat as much food as they can so they can pack on the weight so they are able to shut down for the winter. Many of the bears will not even eat, drink, urinate or defecate for a few months and their heart rate can even drop as much as 50 beats a minute to as little as just 10 beats, (which seems pretty crazy), so of course their oxygen intake will drop dramatically and they will likely lose around at least a quarter of their weight due to abstinence of eating and drinking, which again seems crazy, but that is how these creatures roll!!!!
So come May and certainly June and July the bears will likely be out in force ready to fill their hungry bellies on Berries, Salmon and whatever else they can get to sustain themselves. As these are quite cute looking we must also take due care as these creatures as cute as they maybe are an apex predator and all due respect must be given to them, so we advise that if you want to witness the bears in their natural habitat, there are some tours that will specifically help you out with that.
Watching Bears in the wild – Tour Operators
The habitats of the bears in the wild is actually surprisingly close to us, from the North shore mountains of North and West Vancouver you are beginning to live in bear country. If anything, we have been imposing ourselves to their homes hence the reason we see them wandering around the north shore suburbs! So there are a few ways that you can see the bears in person….
Grouse Mountain – Vancouver
A popular destination just a 45 minute journey from downtown Vancouver – in the summer months this is a great place to visit for incredible scenery, hikes and more……they are also home to a couple of bears in their long term home, the poor things are not fit to live in the wild, so they now reside at the top of Grouse mountain quite literally living the high life!
Ocean Adventures Charter Co – North Vancouver
These guys will get you to see the very best that the wilderness has to offer in this part of the world, from Bears to Whales and awe-inspiring First Nations culture, amidst BC’s most spectacular landscapes.
Whistler Discovery Tours – Whistler
‘Exclusive Land Rover Excursions’. Our year-round scenic private/semi-private eco-tours will take you to areas rarely seen by most Whistler visitors: Morning/Evening with the Bears, Ancient Rainforest/Eagle Viewing Experience, Hidden Glacier Lake Hike/Snowshoe.