I soon expanded to include habitats where bears would concentrate to feed each season – skunk cabbage swamps in early spring, golf courses and ski slopes in spring and summer, and berry patches in fall. After 5 years, I had a good estimation of bear abundance surrounding Whistler including numbers of mating pairs and family groups.
In the spring, summer and fall you can usually find me venturing up Blackcomb Mountain in the early mornings or late afternoons guiding Bear Viewing Tours or sharing my knowledge at local talks.
To support Michael’s work and to help him capture more stunning images of our local bears the Fairmont Foundation funded two high-resolution Reconyx cameras. We’re constantly amazed at the incredible moments and insights into our local bears he is able to share in his images.
What kinds of bears live in Whistler? Can you give us an idea of the population numbers?
The last time I did a formal survey I counted a minimum of 48 black bears in Whistler. I have never captured a grizzly bear but sightings have occurred in the Callaghan and Rainbow valleys.
Curious how to tell black bears and grizzly bears apart? Whistler’s Get Bear Smart Society has a fantastic resource page outlining the differences between them and what to look for. Learn more here.
When can we expect the bears to wake up from hibernation?
Black bears wake up in April. Males emerge first in early April followed by females in late April. The last bears to emerge are mothers with cubs-of-the-year (born in January).