OUR COEXISTENCE INITIATIVE
Tofino's proximity to raw nature and beauty forms the foundation of its appeal to visitors from around the world. It's incumbent on us as tourism and community leaders to learn to live with wildlife. However too often wildlife conflict arises from development encroaching on or destroying wildlife corridors and foraging areas, poor waste management, and attractants such as untidy campgrounds and dogs. Ocean Outfitters is strongly opposed to the destruction of wolves, cougars, or bears in our region due to human-caused conflicts and impacts.
We are working alongside experts to create a Wildlife-Human Hazard Assessment and Management Plan for the District of Tofino. If we want to tackle human-wildlife conflict in our area, we need focus first on our own back yards. The objective of the Wildlife-Human Hazard assessment is to provide a comprehensive analysis of existing wildlife conservation strategies and to minimize human-wildlife conflicts with a particular focus on identifying high use wildlife habitat, non-natural food sources, community and public education, waste management and related bylaws, conflict monitoring systems, community planning and green space management. The plan will identify major non-natural features that may influence wildlife travel patterns as well as areas that have high risk for human-wildlife conflicts. This will be followed up with recommendations, and an action plan.
As human density and tourism increases in the Tofino area, wildlife conflicts will undoubtedly increase without vision, planning, and accountability. A Hazard Assessment and Management Plan will provide the District of Tofino with much needed tools and a vision. We live in a carnivore landscape and local wildlife is a major tourism driver. Humans must learn to adapt behavior to live with our wildlife neighbours. Tofino sits on the doorstep of Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and Ocean Outfitters supports developing a culture of wildlife awareness necessary to live in harmony with a place as special as this. With public education and political support, we are confident that visitors, residents and developers will embrace changes that could make Tofino a leader in living with wildlife.