Welcome to the Neighbourhood: Living with black bears

Newcomers to Port Alberni are receiving information on how to live with black bears from The Fur-Bearers. This will help reduce negative encounters and improve the quality of life for everyone in the community.

The Fur-Bearers are teaming up with the Neighbourhood Welcome Program in Port Alberni to provide education that will help newcomers prevent negative encounters with black bears.

Black bears living in communities may seem unusual to newcomers, but it’s a common and normal occurrence, particularly in British Columbia. As urban development expands, it can push wildlife, including black bears, closer to residential areas in search of food and shelter. However, we don’t need to be afraid. If people use a little care and common sense, black bears have shown they will respect our boundaries and move on. Therefore, understanding how to prevent encounters with black bears becomes essential for residents, especially those who are new to the area and unfamiliar with these animals.

A black bear eating berries
A black bear (Ursus americanus) enjoying a meal of Russet buffaloberry (Shepherdia canadensis) in a tree.
Photo by millermountainman / Getty Images

What is the Neighbourhood Welcome Program?

Moving to a new community can be both exciting and overwhelming. To make the transition smoother, the Neighbourhood Welcome program is designed to greet and assist new residents, ensuring they feel at home from day one. This initiative involves providing a welcome package filled with essential information about local services, businesses, amenities, and community events. Community representatives personally welcome newcomers, offering a friendly face and a personal touch. 

Newcomers registered with the program receive an educational sheet on black bears and coexistence, along with a magnet reminding them to manage trash and attractants.

Making a difference for black bears

We are currently looking to expand our reach beyond Port Alberni to join more Neighbourhood Welcome programs across British Columbia. Stay tuned for more updates about this important initiative!

Many newcomers are coming from areas where black bears and other wildlife are not common to the area, partnering with the Neighbourhood Welcome gives The Fur-Bearers an opportunity to educate the newcomers to the area. With The Fur-Bearers' involvement, we can effectively educate newcomers how to safely coexist with black bears, reducing conflicts and promoting harmonious living for both people and wildlife. 

Megan Warrender,Neighbourhood Welcome President, Port Alberni Area Coordinator

Learn more about the Neighbourhood Welcome Program by visiting their website at NeighbourhoodWelcome.org.

Newcomers in Port Alberni who opt-in to the program receive all kinds of wonderful information - and a direct connection to their new home.

Help Make A Difference

Join The Fur-Bearers today and help us protect fur-bearing animals in the wild and confinement. To become a monthly donor (for as little as $10/month – the cost of two lattes) please click here and help us save lives today. Your donation is tax-deductible.


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Established in 1953, The Fur-Bearers is a charitable, non-partisan organization whose goals are to end the commercial fur trade and promote solutions for wildlife coexistence in communities. Your donation is tax-deductible. Charitable registration number: 130006125RR0002

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