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Vancouver Island Wildlife

Vancouver Island offers a wide range of viewing opportunities for wildlife. From marine waters to mountain peaks, there is wildlife viewing to experience in every season.

The marine waters around Vancouver Island offer excellent whale watching, especially for Orcas. Over 200 Orca frequent the area every year, and twice every year virtually the entire global population of Pacific Gray Whales migrates along the west coast of Vancouver Island. All five species of Pacific salmon migrate off the east and west coast of Vancouver Island to spawn in the rivers of British Columbia which makes for great Grizzly Bear sightings.

Over a million birds migrate on the Pacific Flyway, and thousands stop over or stay through the year, including a large spring migration of Brant Geese and wintering Trumpeter Swans. Strathcona Park on Vancouver Island is home to the endangered Vancouver Island Marmot, with a population of less than 200. Vancouver Island also has the highest concentration of Mountain Lions in the world.

Whales

Killer Whales

Orcinus orca is the sole species in the genus Orcinus.

The Orca (aka the Killer Whale) is the largest member of the dolphin family. There are two sub species in the waters around Vancouver Island, the residents and transients.

Humpback Whales

A Humpbackʼs impressive song can last from few minutes until half an hour. A song performance can go on for several days, with only short breaks in between!

Be Whale Wise

Vessel and acoustic disturbances can disrupt the basic life processes of killer whales. Seeing killer whales and other marine wildlife in their natural environment can be a thrilling experience. Thatʼs why we offer our tours on kayaks not a a whale watching boat.

Sea Mammals

Dall's Porpoises

Like dolphins and porpoises, Dallʼs Porpoises have the ability to rest just half of their brain at a time.

Pacific White-Sided Dolphins

This is the all time favourite of whale watchers on the Coast. These dolphins love to entertain, are full of positive energy and it seems that they like to travel close to humpback whales.

Sea Lions

There is a great sexual dimorphism in sea lions. Males are three to four times as heavy as females.

Animals

Black Bear

Vancouver Island has its own unique species of Black Bear - 'Ursus americanus vancouveri'. Ranging the entire length of Vancouver Island, these, naturally curious animals, are seldom dangerous.

Wolves

The Vancouver Island wolf (Canis lupus crassodon) is a sub species of the grey wolf. Lighter in color than the mainland species, it is shy and rarely seen.

The Cougar

Puma concolor couguar

Only rarely seen, the cougar (Puma concolor couguar) is the most feared of Vancouver Island's predators. Although sensationalized in the press, attacks on humans are extremely rare and fatalities even rarer.

Grizzly Bear

Not native to Vancouver Island, the Grizzly Bear can be found all along the west coast of BC. In the fall they can be seen along the river banks feeding on the spawning salmon.

Birds

Bald Eagles

The Bald Eagle is common to the entire coast of Vancouver Island with large populations seen in the the Comox/Courteny/Campbell River areas.

Kingfisher

There are forests with birds such as kingfishers and songbirds.