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Wildlife Safety in Mission BC

SUMMARY

The most common wildlife in Mission is black bears, deer, coyotes, cougars and raccoons. Continue reading for a few safety tips on each animal.

Wildlife Safety in Mission BC

Did you know that Mission is home to over 10,000 hectares of forest and 12 lakes? With such a large forest and outdoors you just know that it is home to an abundance of wildlife. Missionites are adventurers, and with adventure comes many animal friends who are often joining in on your journey in the woods. So next time you head outdoors this summer, remember that you are entering the wildlife's home and consider the following ways to be a good neighbour to our furry locals:

The best thing you can do while exploring the outdoors is to be prepared and learn about each animal as they are just as unique as us.

The most common wildlife in Mission is black bears, deer, coyotes, cougars and raccoons.

Black Bears

The Black Bear, most commonly black can also vary in colour have browns as well as white (Kermode bear). The Black bear inhabits most ecosystems throughout BC and are common to see in Mission. You should consider the entire province of BC to be “bear country”.

BLACK BEARS IN MISSION:

This summer, black bears have been prevalent in Mission. There has been dozens of close encounters between visitors walking the trails. If you see a bear while out exploring, stay calm and follow the safety tips below. Make sure to call the conservative officer service reporting line (1-877-952-7277) to report the bear.

BLACK BEAR SAFETY TIPS:

When hiking, travel in groups of two or more and keep talking (talk out loud to yourself if you are on your own). Bears recognize the human voice and will avoid you in most instances.

Carry bear spray with you when hiking in bear country. If you encounter a bear, do not yell, scream, or run as this may trigger an attack. If the bear sees you, speak in a low voice to let the bear know you are a human and move away slowly.

If you have a bear in your yard, slowly retreat into the house and ensure the home is secure. Call the conservative Officer Service reporting line (1-877-952-7277) to report the bear. After the bear has left, ensure that whatever attracted the bear is removed.

MANAGE YOUR ATTRACTIONS:

While out camping, keep all garbage and food securely stored and put away in bear safe bins. Make sure to properly clean your fire pit and barbecue as the odors and grease can attract a bear. If your pet is with you, keep their food stored away and not outside.

If you are back country camping, where possible food should be slung up by a rope system in an area inaccessible to bears (at least 4m off the ground and 3m from the nearest tree).

Inspect your choice of camping area closely to make sure it is not an area likely used by bears. It is best to camp away from waterways or other features that may attract wildlife

Never take food into your tent. A bear may smell and investigate.

Coyotes

Coyotes looks similar to dogs but can be distinguished by their large tail and two-toned coat. They are efficient hunters and well as scavengers. Coyotes can commonly be found on farmland, forests and urban settings.

COYOTE SAFTEY TIPS:

Urban coyotes have become very comfortable around humans and have at times attacked pets on leashes within only metres of their owners.

Fatal attacks by coyotes are extremely rare, due mainly to the small size of a coyote.

If you encounter a coyote that is aggressive towards you, do not run as this may trigger an attack. Back away slowly and speak to it in a loud firm voice. If you have a walking stick, use that to protect yourself, and/or deliver a series of hard kicks to the coyote’s ribs and stomach and that should be enough to dissuade the animal.

Call the Conservative Officer Service reporting line (1-877-952-7277) to report the incident.

MANAGE YOUR ATTRACTIONS:

While out camping, keep all garbage and food securely stored and put away in bear safe bins. Make sure to properly clean your fire pit and barbecue as the odors and grease can attract an animal. If your pet is with you, keep their food stored away, and in a safe place, inaccessible to wildlife.

Keep your pets indoors, especially at night. Cats and small dogs that are left to free-range can easily become prey. Feed pets indoors.

Photo by wildsafebc.com

Cougars

The cougar is the largest of three wild cats in Canada and is a formidable hunter. Deer are one of the cougar’s primary food sources, so if deer are abundant in an area, there is a good possibility to find cougars in the same area. They are wide ranging animals and may show up in urban settings from time to time

COUGAR SAFETY TIPS:

Attacks by cougars are rare, but can be fatal, especially if young children are involved. In all cases you must fight back as cougar attacks are always predatory and the cougar sees you as a meal. Use rocks, sticks, or whatever you have at hand to protect yourself.

If you see a cougar that is watching you, maintain eye contact with the cougar and speak to it in a loud firm voice. Reinforce the fact that you are human and not an easy target. Back out of the area and seek assistance or shelter.

MANAGE YOUR ATTRACTIONS:

While out camping, keep all garbage and food securely stored and put away in bear safe bins. Make sure to properly clean your fire pit and barbecue as the odors and grease can attract an animal. If your pet is with you, keep their food stored away, and in a safe place, inaccessible to wildlife.

Keep your pets indoors, especially at night. Cats and small dogs that are left to free-range can easily become prey. Feed pets indoors.

Never feed deer or other possible prey species. While deer may be pleasant to watch, they can attract large predators such as cougars.

Cougars are most active during the period from dusk to dawn. If outside or hiking at this time, be extra cautious.

Photo by wildsafebc.com

Racoons

Raccoons can be easily identified by their characteristic black eye mask and striped tail. They found in a wide variety of habitats including forests, marshes and farmland. Highly adaptable, raccoons can also thrive in the densest urban centers.

RACCOON SAFETY TIPS:

Racoons can become aggressive towards humans if concerned or handled. Given their small size, they do not pose a serious threat but a capable of inflicting minor injuries.

  • If approached by a raccoon, scare it away by yelling, clapping or making noises
  • Keep small pets inside, especially at night. Cats and small dogs can be seriously injured or even killed in conflicts with raccoons.
  • Never attempt to approach a raccoon. Like all wildlife, raccoons can act aggressively if they feel threatened.
  • Raccoons sometimes carry a dangerous parasitic roundworm that can be transmitted to humans through contact with fecal matter. If cleaning an area where raccoons have frequented, wear a mask, goggles and gloves.

MANAGE YOUR ATTRACTIONS:

While out camping, keep all garbage and food securely stored and put away in bear safe bins. Make sure to properly clean your fire pit and barbecue as the odors and grease can attract an animal. If your pet is with you, keep their food stored away, and in a safe place, inaccessible to wildlife.

Keep your pets indoors, especially at night. Cats and small dogs that are left to free-range can easily become prey. Feed pets indoors.

Never feed raccoons. Even though you think you are helping them out, raccoons have evolved to live without our help and feeding just leads to conflict.

Photo by wildsafebc.com

 

Keep these tips handy and let your family know of these top tips before traveling. Staying safe is the best way of ensuring a good vacation.