June 3, 2024

Did you know that Vancouver Island is home to one of the densest populations of black bears anywhere in the world?  It is estimated that approximately 12,000 bears live on Vancouver Island and certainly our daily bear watching safaris have become increasingly popular and beloved by locals and visitors to Tofino.

Very Cool Facts About Coastal Black Bears:
  • The coastal black bears are a sub-species of the black bears seen on the mainland or in the Rocky Mountains. Our coastal bears are darker, larger and have webbed paws for swimming! 
  • Coastal bears are culturally and spiritually significant to local Indigenous people, Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations.  The bears are considered sacred animals possessing spiritual power and often associated with healing and transformation. Coastal bears are considered protectors of the land and revered for their ability to maintain the balance of the natural world as depicted in Nuu-chah-ulth stories, carvings and artwork. Historically, Nuu-chah-nulth people relied on bears for food, clothing and trade with other tribes.
  • Black bears are omnivores and will eat a variety of foods, including berries, fruits, nuts, roots, insects, and small mammals. In Tofino, their diet mainly consists of clams and other shellfish, including crab, which they dig up from the shoreline during low tide (which is why we tour at low tide to see them in action!). They are also known to fish for salmon and other small fish in the streams and rivers.
  • Bears in Tofino usually hibernate during the winter months, from November to April. During this time, they go into a deep sleep and slow down their metabolism to conserve energy. They typically find a den in a cave or a hollow tree and curl up in a ball to keep warm. Interestingly, female black bears can give birth and nurse their cubs while they are still in hibernation!
About Bear Watching Tours:
  • Our bear watching tours depart daily timed at low tide during the months of April to October.
  • The tours operate rain or shine - they don’t call it the ‘Wet Coast’ for nothing! Our boats are the most comfortable in Tofino and provide everyone with inside seating with a heated cabin as well as multiple outdoor viewing decks and outdoor seating. Our catamaran, Nanuq, is also wheelchair accessible.
  • The tour is family friendly for all ages including infants, seniors and pregnant guests.
  • The tour is approximately 2 hours in duration taking you up the quiet sheltered inlets of the Clayoquot Sound to watch the bears come down to the rocky shorelines to forage for food.
  • We call the bear tour a “safari” as you will likely see other marine wildlife including harbour seals, sea otters, California sea lions, Steller sea lions, bald eagles. We have even sighted transient orcas and coastal wolves on bear tours before!

To book your tour or to access more information, check out our CanaDream Club partner
Adventure Awaits!

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