Download the WildCoast Project Primer and Guidelines.

The WildCoast Project was initiated because of concern about the potential for conflict between humans and predators, namely cougars and wolves, in our central west-coast region. The number of reported human-predator interactions has increased in the area from Clayoquot Sound in the northwest to Port Renfrew in the southeast.

It makes sense that interactions might be increasing along with visitor numbers to areas like the Long Beach Unit of Pacific Rim National Reserve (PRNPR) and the towns of Tofino and Ucluelet. However, there have also been higher levels of interactions in some backcountry areas and around remote villages.

These interactions can pose a threat to both people and the animals. Predators may lose their fear of humans over time and in the case of wolves they may also become food-habituated due to direct or indirect feeding (e.g. garbage and unsecured food).

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve with partners such as the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust is conducting research into the links between predators, prey, people and landscape dynamics that may be contributing to an increase in carnivore-human interactions. The goal is to reduce the risk of conflict between humans and predators.

The WildCoast Project began in 2004. A comprehensive research plan was developed that would pursue many threads of investigation depicted in the graphic below.

A great deal of research has been completed and the most recent challenge became how best to effectively share the results to facilitate conflict prevention and enhance public safety.

Download the WildCoast Project Primer and Guidelines.

Knowledge Mobilization – The WildCoast Primer: Learning To Live With Large Carnivores

The research phase has been like unraveling a complex and continuing mystery plot. The WildCoast Primer starts with an overview of the story and then profiles the detective work in the form of easy to browse summaries. The summaries serve two purposes. They are also a portal to much more detailed information. Near the title of each project summary is a balloon-type icon that says “Click here for more detailed information”. One click may take you directly to a slideshow, a technical report or a complete Masters Thesis.

For example, a wildlife-watching guide has been asked by a high school student what wolves hunt on the west coast. The guide takes their email address and promises to research the answer. The answer can be quickly found within the Primer due to 2 projects that analyzed wolf diet. The guide sends the student a link to the Primer so that they can read the project summaries and if they wish click on the icons to read a full report and watch a slideshow.

Another two summaries chronicle accounts of close encounters involving people and carnivores and one report provides a system for classifying cougar and wolf encounters.

The last section of the Primer has conflict prevention and encounter response guidelines for specific audiences.

Download the WildCoast Project Primer and Guidelines.

The WildCoast Primer Describes The Threads Of Detective Work And Emerging Impressions

To date the emerging impressions are that the deer population on the larger landscape is very low. One contributing factor is that extensive clear-cut logged areas in the region now have second-growth forest cover that is older than 20 years of age.

These cut areas provided good deer habitat for 10-15+ years. Dense second growth forest, after 20 years, though, shades out the forage that deer prefer and these extensive tracts have become marginal deer habitat. This condition is thought to persist for upwards of 80+ years. Much of the landscape is now in this state.

Field research documented that cougar and wolves are still pursuing deer but are also hunting a variety of smaller prey found particularly in shoreline areas.

Most human infrastructure and human activity in this region is within 500 meters of the shoreline (e.g. communities, parking lots, trails, subdivisions).

The overlap of carnivore territories and human activity presents more opportunity for close encounters. Interestingly, in most of the recorded encounters, people did not try to scare the wolf or cougar away. In many instances people tried to prolong the encounter, sometimes followed the predator and at times enticed the animal(s) closer (e.g. offer food).

Before carnivore-human interactions increased in the region there was a general perception that wolves and cougar were extremely wary of people and just the presence of people prevented close encounters.

That perception has changed and some wolves and cougar have shown an ability to adapt to hunting where there is considerable human use like shorelines (e.g., beaches, mudflat edges, coastal trails) and newly disturbed edge habitat (e.g., new subdivisions) in and around communities.

The reward is a diverse base of natural prey as well as domestic animals running at large.

Some wolves and cougar have developed a striking lack of wariness of people. Increased close encounters has increased the level of risk for conflict.

Download the WildCoast Project Primer and Guidelines.

Collectively these factors suggest that the trend to a higher level of carnivore-human interactions can be expected to continue.

The research reported on in the WildCoast Primer has been focused on understanding an array of dynamics. The results are informing strategies designed to prevent conflict, enhance safety and conserve carnivores.


The WildCoast Primer provides an easy to browse overview of the body of WildCoast Project research up to date as well as conflict prevention and public safety guidelines. Please read on about who the Primer is designed for and to learn how to use it.

Download the WildCoast Project Primer and Guidelines.


Please let us know what you think by emailing your response to the following questions to: danielle.thompson@pc.gc.ca
1. Did you find the Primer easy to use?
2. Was the information interesting to you?
3. Was there relevant information for your needs?
4. What are your information needs?
5. How would you describe your role? (e.g. teacher, town planner, kayaking guide, etc.)
6. Do you think the format of the Primer is an effective knowledge mobilization tool?
7. How would you improve the Primer?
8. Other comments?

Thank you for taking the time to help us assess and improve.

WILDCOAST PROJECT LINKS:

Download the WildCoast Project Primer and Guidelines.

Product 1: WildCoast Study Design Workshop, University of Victoria (2004)
~ Jennie Sparkes, Human Dimensions Section, Parks Canada

Product 2: A Case History of Wolf-Human Encounters in and Around Pacific Rim National Park Reserve (1978-2003)
~ Todd Windle, University of Northern British Columbia

Product 3: Noninvasive Approaches to Reduce Human-Cougar Conflict in Protected Areas on the West Coast of Vancouver Island (2010)
~ Danielle Thompson, MSc., University of Victoria

Product 4: Carnivore-Human Interactions in Relation to Patterns of Human Use (1972-2005)
~ Danielle Edwards, Consultant, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Product 4a: Presentation: Carnivore-Human Interactions in Relation to Patterns of Human Use (1972-2005)

Product 5: Presentation: Human Encounters with Wolves and Cougars in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve Area: Summary and Analysis of Behaviour (1983-2006)
~ Michelle Theberge, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Product 5a: Human Encounters with Wolves and Cougars in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve Area: Summary and Analysis of Behaviour
~ Michelle Theberge, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Product 6: Social Science Annotated Bibliography on Human-Carnivore Interactions (2005)
~ Cecile LaCombe, Optimal Environments Inc

Product 7: Visitor Behaviour and Perception of Bears, Wolves and Cougars at Pacific Rim National Park Reserve (2005)
~ Sasha Wade, BSc. Honours Project, University of Victoria

Product 8 Residents’ Attributions, Attitudes, and Support for Human-Wildlife Conflict Management (2005)
~ Christine Jackson, BSc. Honours Project, University of Victoria

Product 9: Abstract: Wild Wolves? Understanding Human-Wolf Interactions in a Coastal Canadian National Park Reserve (2005)
~ Jennifer Smith, MSc., Lakehead University

Product 9a: Wild Wolves? Understanding Human-Wolf Interactions in a Coastal Canadian National Park Reserve (2005)
~ Jennifer Smith, MSc., Lakehead University

Product 10: Attitudes, Perception and Knowledge: Understanding the Human-Cougar Nexus on the West Coast Trail (2004)
~ Geoff Carrow, MSc., Royal Roads University

Product 11: Black-Tailed Deer Ecology in and Around Pacific Rim National Park Reserve (2007)
~ Christian Engelstoft, MSc., Alula Biological Consulting

Product 12: Diet of Carnivores in Greater Pacific Rim National Park of Canada Ecosystem (2000-2005)
~ Song Horng Neo, Consultant, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Product 12a: Presentation: Diet of Carnivores in Greater Pacific Rim National Park of Canada Ecosystem (2000-2005)

Product 13: Carnivore Scat Diet Composition Analysis – Continued (2005-2007)
~ Billy Wilton, Consultant, Clayoquot Biosphere Trust

Product 14:Predator-Prey Sign Survey Report (2003-2004)
~ Todd Windle, University of Northern British Columbia

Product 15: Summary of the Predator-Prey Sign Survey Program – Continued 2005-2007)
~ Billy Wilton, Consultant, Parks Canada

Product 16: Preliminary Spatial Analysis: Mammal Sign on the WildCoast (2005)
~ Simone Runyan, MSc., University of British Columbia and Summit Environmental

Product 17:Results of DNA analysis from Carnivore Scats – University of Calgary, University of Saskatchewan (2002-2007)
~ Erin Navid, B.Sc., M.E.Des (Environmental Science), University of Calgary

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