It’s that time of the year when Whistler’s longest known locals emerge from their winter slumber. For the past six months, the bears have been in hibernation and the snow melting signals them it’s time to wake up! The males wake up first and the mothers with cubs exit their dens last. There are approximately 50 black bears that roam Whistler so seeing a bear on your trip is very possible. To understand their place in the ecosystem, their behaviors and how to ensure that you do see one, we have the inside scoop on Whistler’s bears!
What Is Hibernation?
Winter isn’t easy for anyone, let alone the wildlife that can be found in Whistler’s forests. To conserve energy and account for a decrease in food sources, bears find a safe place and lower their metabolism or in other words, sleep. During this time, the bears do not eat or drink. What’s more, during the deepest points of hibernation, the heart rate slows to as low as 8 beats per minute and breathing slows to one breath in 45 seconds. Amazing isn’t it? Understanding hibernation helps to paint a picture of what life looks like for a bear and how crucial the weather and food sources are to their survival.
Being Bear Smart
The resort community of Whistler is home to the Get Bear Smart Society. This society works to make cohabitation of bears and people possible. In particular, it provides information on managing attractants, staying safe, keeping bears safe and building a bear smart community.
Some of the biggest things you can do as a guest in a bear’s territory are the following:
- Take out what you take in. Garbage is an easy food source for bears but allowing this to happen makes bears more likely to search this food source out.
- Keep your distance. Never approach bears.
Viewing A Bear
Seeing a bear in its natural habitat can be exhilarating but it is crucial that viewing a bear is done in a safe and sustainable manner. The bear viewing companies in Whistler work very hard to make sure that the bears are not habituated and that guests can enjoy seeing a bear forage or interact with its environment. Many take guests on a tour of bear territory in the comfort of a 4×4 jeep and with experienced guides or researchers leading the way. Not only will you see all sorts of animals, you will learn how conservation initiatives help to sustain healthy populations, and how the resort is always redesigning recreational experiences to ensure a sustainable future for all wildlife.
If seeing a bear is on your list of things to do in Whistler, make sure to speak to our front desk at the Listel Hotel. We can help you select a bear viewing experience for you and your family. Happy bear watching!