Black bear seen on Orcas Island

An unusual visitor to the islands was spotted this afternoon.. A black bear was seen about 4 p.m. Saturday, May 27 in the 1100 block of Point Lawrence Road on Orcas Island. It was heading towards Obstruction Pass.

The Sheriff's Office has been unable to locate the bear. The Department of Fish and Wildlife was contacted. They said the bear probably swam to the island and that bears have been seen  on outer islands before. Black bears can swim incredible distances. 

One of the largest populations of black bears lives a short distance away on Vancouver Island. 

DFW asks that you not attempt to feed or harm the bear. They are safe and not aggressive unless they are cornered. They tend to get aggressive when  fed. DFW said they eat vegetation and that you are more likely to be attacked by a raccoon than a black bear.  

The Sheriff's Office asks that you keep your garbage locked up. If you see the bear standing on its hind legs it is only being inquisitive. 

If you see the bear, please call San Juan County Sheriff's Office at 360.378.4151.

Shooting the bear is considered poaching and is illegal. Please do not harm the bear.



  • Erin
    Erin Monday, 29 May 2017 20:48 Comment Link

    My husband and I came to visit the isla nd this weekend. Waiting for our ferry to leave but we ran into it. I have photos on my Canon 60D. Its a small female probably.

  • Olga
    Olga Monday, 29 May 2017 12:20 Comment Link

    There is no reason to trap this bear. Bears were native on Orcas when Europeans arrived. If our recent ancestors had not killed them all or "extirpated" them as the sign in Moran State Park euphemizes, we would still have bears on Orcas. Leave the bear alone. It is a native species. Let it live here unmolested. Many communities including island live with bears. It's easy - just keep your trash out of the way and let them eat ants and berries. They'll be fine.

  • Mike Skehan
    Mike Skehan Saturday, 27 May 2017 22:10 Comment Link

    A black hear has been tracked roaming around Lummi Island for the last week. Rummaging through garbage cans as of yesterday. We suspect it swam over from Lummi Nation during their last fireworks barrage all night.
    Fish and Wildlife came over this morning with a trap, to relocate the poor critter, so we'll see.


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