Unpredictable but unbelievable
wildlife changes with the seasons

You can expect to see wildlife on any day during your trip to Vancouver Island North, though there are certain times where they are more active.

Steller Sea Lions
  • By chance any time of year
  • Winter months, on the docks in Hardy Bay, Port Alice
Grizzly Bears
  • Grizzlies are not found on Vancouver Island, but are on the adjacent mainland coast
  • Late May to mid June is mating season
  • Spring thaw to August, they tend to be found in sedge grass areas or on the beach at low tide
  • Mid July is when you are likely to start seeing cubs
  • September to early October, they tend to be found near the rivers for the salmon spawn
Black Bears
  • There are always some around, but in general…
  • They become a common site along the highway corridors
  • May through late-October
  • May to August, they tend to be in the grassy, green areas
  • September and October, they tend to move to the rivers for the salmon spawn
Killer Whales (Orcas)
  • “Transient” Orcas – also known as Biggs’ killer whales or mammal-eating killer whales
  • Seen by chance at any time of year (they follow the food, marine mammals in the Transient’s case)
  • “Northern Resident” Orcas – also known as fish-eating killer whales
  • Tend to be seen from early July to October (they follow the food too, fish in the case of the Northern Residents so September can be particularly active with the salmon runs)
Humpback Whales
  • Year-round
  • Seen more frequently in recent years in this area during the summer months (June to October)
Pacific White-Sided Dolphins Or Dall’s Porpoise
  • By chance any time of year
  • Abundant year round
  • Mating season in May (large groups, lots of interaction)
  • Very active and abundant during spawning season in Sept-Oct, Quatse River a very good viewing area
Herons, Cormorants, Mergansers, & Many Other Seabirds
  • By chance any time of year
Explore Vancouver Island North
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