Wildlife can be found throughout the city. Bear, moose, deer, songbirds, beavers, waterfowl and a host of other animals are frequently spotted in urban and rural settings. Prince George contains many environmentally sensitive areas that are important habitat features for wildlife. Wildlife and the natural environment are important to Prince George residents.
We are fortunate in Prince George to have a swath of natural beauty that provides habitat to several different species of wildlife. Within City limits, it is common to spot black bears, moose, white-tailed deer, mule deer, lynx, wolves, coyotes, foxes, bats, bald eagles, great-horned owls and red-tailed hawks.
Photo: “Soul Mate” foxes in Cottonwood Island Nature Park (submitted to the City’s Wild about Wildlife Photo Contest by Eric Seemann of ES Wildlife Photo Images)
Prince George is home to two major river systems, the Fraser and Nechako, and provides habitat for several different species of aquatic wildlife. The rivers and tributary streams provide spawning, rearing, and overwintering habitat for white sturgeon, Chinook salmon, Rainbow trout and Bull trout – among many other fish species.
The watershed systems in Prince George also provide important habitat for beavers, muskrats, river otters, Trumpeter swans, Mallard ducks, Loons, Western toads, and Long-toed salamanders.
Photo: Beaver in Pineview, Prince George (submitted to the City’s Wild about Wildlife Photo Contest by Tanya Cardinal of XOXO Photography)
Be Bear Aware
Human-bear conflicts are common in Prince George, especially in neighbourhoods that border parkland and natural areas. Garbage, bird feeders, and fruit trees are very attractive to bears and, unfortunately, a bear that becomes conditioned to these types of food sources will end up needing to be destroyed. Guard against bear - and other wildlife - incursions by keeping yards and properties free of potential food sources with the following suggestions:
Maintaining a Wildlife-resistant Yard
It is important to protect and preserve wildlife and wildlife habitat by making homes and properties wildlife resistant by:
- Making garbage inaccessible. Do not store garbage collection cart or recycling bins outside where they can be accessed by wildlife.
- Do not put garbage collection carts out on the night before your schedule collection day. Garbage collection carts may not be put out earlier than 4:00am, as per
Bylaw No. 7661, 2004 Garbage Collection Regulation.
- Remove attractants from yard areas by feeding pets indoors, keeping bird feeders out of reach, and cleaning barbeques after use.
Avoid growing food-bearing trees and shrubs or - if there are already plants on the property - pick fruit and vegetables as they ripen and be sure to clean up fallen fruit. Residents can sign up with the
Northern Bear Awareness Society to have unwanted fruit collected and re-distributed through its
Fruit Exchange Program.
Living in Prince George might also mean a greater than average chance of encountering bears, especially during spring and autumn when the animals are either just emerging from or getting ready for hibernation. While bears generally prefer to avoid people, residents are nevertheless advised to take caution when walking on City trails or in wooded areas.
Important Things to Know
Keep safe and enjoy the City's great outdoors year round with these tips on how to avoid or handle unexpected wildlife encounters:
- Travel in a group whenever possible.
- Use officially marked trails and travel during daylight hours.
- Make noises while hiking or biking - such as speaking loudly to others - to alert bears and other wildlife in the area that there are people close by.
- Watch for wildlife and detour around if encountered.
- Keep dogs on a leash at all times - especially during prime bear season - even within off-leash pet areas. Unleashed dogs may cause bears - or other large wildlife - to mistake them for predators (e.g. wolves) and become aggressive.
- Maintain distance in the event of a wildlife encounter, especially if it is a mother bear with her cubs or a mother moose and her calves.
- Carry bear spray and know how to use it.
- In a bear encounter, maintain eye contact and raise arms or any large object to appear bigger. DO NOT face away from the bear or run. Rather, slowly back out of the area.
- Warn other hikers of a bear or other wildlife in the area and report the incident immediately to the Conservation Officer Services at 1-877-952-RAPP (7277).
For more information on traveling safely through bear country and for general advice:
Wildlife is protected by the Provincial
Wildlife Act. If you are having issues with wildlife contact the
BC Conservation Officer Service.