black bears in tofino visit the photographer's website photo:jacqueline windh

Black Bears in Tofino

by Adam Buskard, Tofino


One of the most likely animals to run into in Clayoquot Sound this time of year is Ursus Americanus, the Black Bear. During fall days they are busy fattening up for the winter season. They are often found on the banks of salmon spawning rivers or on Tofino's intertidal mudflats foraging for food.

The Black Bear is omnivorous, but its diet consists mainly of vegetation, including twigs, buds, leaves, nuts, roots, and fruit. It balances its diet with small to medium-size mammals or other vertebrates, fish and seafood. Usually black in appearance they range in weight from 150 to 400 pounds and stand in the range of 36 to 40 inches in height and a average length of 5 feet.

Except when breeding and raising young, black bears are generally solitary animals. They try to avoid humans and are considered non-aggressive except when injured, protecting their young, or themselves. Black bear cubs are generally born in mid-winter. The blind cubs weigh about 3/4 of a pound at birth, and twins are most common. By spring when the bears start leaving their dens, the cubs are full of energy, inquisitive and playful. They are weaned between July and September of their first year, and stay with the mother through the first full winter. They are usually independent by the second winter.

Black bears are well-equipped to adjust to changing environments and the population of black bears in BC is at a historic high. The BC Wildlife Branch estimates that there are between 120,000 and 160,000 black bears in the province. There are an estimated 803,000 black bears in North America.

Bears in Tofino

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Tofino wildlife: Black bears in Clayoquot Sound. Wildlfe profile from Tofino Time Magazine

tofino time october/november 2003

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