The WildSafeBC program helps educate residents and visitors on how to co-exist with wildlife. (Westerly File Photo)                                The WildSafeBC program helps educate residents and visitors on how to co-exist with wildlife. (Westerly File Photo)

The WildSafeBC program helps educate residents and visitors on how to co-exist with wildlife. (Westerly File Photo) The WildSafeBC program helps educate residents and visitors on how to co-exist with wildlife. (Westerly File Photo)

WildSafeBC program returns to Tofino and Ucluelet

Program helps keep West Coast wildlife wild.

WildSafeBC has returned to the West Coast.

The educational program designed to help residents and visitors co-exist with local wildlife has been absent from the peninsula since 2016, but a coalition that includes the districts of Tofino and Ucluelet, the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and the West Coast business community has resurrected it this year.

“As we’re well aware, we’re sharing the landscape with a whole host of species of wildlife and, at times, that really does present challenges,” said longtime resident Bob Hansen who has signed on to be the local WildSafeBC coordinator.

“The whole main mandate of the WildSafeBC program is to keep wildlife wild and communities safe…It’s a real concerted effort to reduce preventable conflict.”

Hansen moved to the West Coast roughly 30 years ago and recently retired from the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve where he spent the latter part of his career as a Human Wildlife Co-existence Specialist.

He said he has a “deep love” for the West Coast and was excited to find a way to contribute after his retirement.

“I appreciate having the opportunity to give back to our communities and to this landscape,” he said.

“I really enjoy connecting with people and passing on knowledge and experiences that they may not have…It’s very rewarding to be able to connect with people in that way.”

Hansen said there are currently 25 WildSafeBC coordinators serving 150 communities across B.C. and, as the West Coast’s coordinator, he will serve as a conduit to deliver the program’s educational resources to local residents, businesses and schools

“I’m linked into that network of 25 other coordinators, which gives me access to their experience and knowledge and the experience and knowledge of their communities. That’s a huge well of knowledge to go to,” he said.

He added that, outside of scheduled presentations, he plans to maintain a consistent presence at local events and will be “looking for opportunities to really connect with people one on one.”

Hansen will also proactively seek out concerning behaviours, like locals leaving garbage bins or other attractants unsecured, and hopes to work with staff housing providers to ensure bear-proof garbage containers are being used.

He said locals have an important role to play in ensuring visitors are well informed and he encouragesbusinesses to pass around WildSafeBC pamphlets and to make sure their staff can educate guests about co-existing with wildlife.

“We all in our different capacities in our communities may have different ways of reaching those visitors,” he said. “Take advantage of every opportunity to make the visitors’ experience a rewarding one and a safe one.”

He urges anyone who spots a predator in their community to immediately contact the BC Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.

Anyone interested in volunteering to help Hansen’s WildSafeBC efforts, or who wants to learn more about the program, is encouraged to reach out to him at 250-266-0311, pacrim@wildsafebc.com, or through the WildSafeBC Pacific Rim Facebook page.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson kneels as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
UPDATED: Vancouver Island paddle boarder’s orca encounter brings joy and outrage

Woman’s ‘best day’ criticized for disturbing the whales

Tofino’s library is currently located in the basement of the Tofino Legion building but talks are underway to build a brand new facility. (Andrew Bailey photo)
The District of Tofino has put new restrictions in place around alcohol at public events. (Westerly file photo)
Tofino puts new restrictions on alcohol at public events

Town’s council adopts Municipal Alcohol Policy.

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Dog owners, from left, Marlyn Briggs with Nayla, Marjory Sutherland with Effie and Mick, and Christina Godbolt with Conon walk their pets frequently at the Chemainus Ball Park but are growing increasingly concerned about drugs being found discarded in the area. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Puppy rushed to emergency 3 times after ingesting drugs in Chemainus public spaces

Dog owners walking in Chemainus parks urged to take caution

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)
B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission school district

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways in Mission, B.C.

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Prince Edward Island’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. A lozenge plant in Prince Edward Island has laid off 30 workers, citing an “almost non-existent” cold and cough season amid COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Almost non-existent’ cold and cough season: P.E.I. lozenge plant lays off 30 workers

The apparent drop in winter colds across the country seems to have weakened demand for medicine and natural remedies

Most Read