West Vancouver is home to many wild animals, including raccoons, coyotes, skunks, cougars and bears. It's important that we do what we can to keep wildlife in the wild and out of our neighbourhoods.
West Vancouver is home to many black bears. Bears that learn to associate humans with food sources may become dangerous and need to be destroyed, making it a matter of life and death for the bear that you minimize animal attractants in your garbage and on your property. Our bylaws require that wildlife attractants be managed responsibly in order to minimize human/bear interactions and avoid destroying bears.
Like many wildlife species, cougars call West Vancouver and the North Shore home. Cougars are most active between dusk and dawn but can be seen at all times of the day. Understanding their behaviour and why they may be close to trails or urban environments is the first step to keeping you and your pets safe in the rare event that you have an encounter with a cougar.
Cougar sightings are very rare. Even so, you should always be prepared to see a cougar when living and recreating on the North Shore.
The District of West Vancouver has partnered with the Co-Existing with Coyotes program. Report a sighting using the online form below or call 604-681-9453(WILD).
Coyotes are well adapted to living in urban areas. They are naturally timid but may act aggressively if they become too comfortable with people. With a few simple actions, we can help reduce conflict between people, pets and coyotes:
- Be big, brave and loud. Scaring coyotes helps them retain a natural fear of people
- Never feed coyotes. Coyotes that are fed by people can become bold and aggressive and may have to be destroyed. Keep a secure lid on your garbage and compost, do not leave pet food outside and pick your tree fruit before it falls
- Pet safety. Keep dogs on a leash and cats indoors, especially at night
If yelling doesn’t frighten the coyote away, you can:
- wave a stick to make yourself look bigger
- toss small objects near, but not directly at, the coyote
- spray the coyote with water from a garden hose or squirt gun
- rattle a "coyote shaker" made of a pop can and coins
If the coyote does not run away or acts aggressively towards you:
- make eye contact and face the coyote, while slowly backing away
- pick up small pets or young children
Managing Rodent Pests
Rodents play an important role in natural habitat and are a primary food source for many bird species, including owls and eagles. But when they rely on an urban environment (such as your home) for food and shelter, their populations can expand quickly and result in a rodent problem.
With the right methods, you can control rodent populations on your property while keeping other wildlife safe.
Ticks & Lyme Disease
Ticks are common in British Columbia and can carry the bacteria causing Lyme disease, however, the rate of Lyme disease has remained low in BC compared to other parts of North America.
Avoiding tick bites and removing attached ticks early will help protect you and your pets from Lyme disease.
Reducing Wildlife Attractants
West Vancouver is home to many wild animals, including raccoons, coyotes, skunks, cougars and bears. Learn what to do to make your home less inviting to them by taking steps to reduce wildlife attractants.
You can do your part to avoid attracting animals to your property and help make our neighbourhood a safe place to live for humans, pets and wildlife.
- Do not feed wildlife: the Provincial Wildlife Act considers it an offence to feed or attempt to feed dangerous wildlife
- Keep all garbage secure: clean garbage containers and ensure they have tight fitting secure lids or use bear-resistant bins; do not place garbage out until 5 a.m. on the morning of pick up
- Ensure your compost is working properly: composts that emit strong odours are likely not working correctly; add more brown matter such as soil or leaves, consider adding some lime to aid in composting and reduce odours, do not add meat products to your compost and make sure the lid is secured
- Pick up all fruit: consider picking fruit before it ripens and ripening it indoors or replacing fruit trees with non-fruit bearing trees; contact a local fruit gleaning group to help collect fruit if you are not going to use it
- Reduce places for wildlife to hide in your yard: remove dense landscaping or low branches; use small wire mesh to seal off porches, sheds and decks that provide opportunities for hiding or denning
- Keep wildlife out of your yard: fences kept in good condition, flat to the ground, that are a minimum of two metres tall will limit coyote access into your yard
- Remove bird feeders: seeds attract rodents such as mice, which then attract coyotes and other wildlife
- Install motion activated lights or sprinklers
- Do not leave pets outdoors and unattended: keep your cat indoors and ensure you keep your dog close when on walks
- Pick up after your dog: canine faeces can act as a coyote attractant
- Do not feed pets outside: if you must, clean up any pet food immediately after feeding
- Secure petroleum products: petroleum products such as synthetic rubbers, tar paper, paint, turpentine, kerosene and charcoal fluid are also attractants
- Do not keep food in your car