In fall 2016 two bears were shot and killed on the N'Quatqua First Nation reserve by Conservation Officers. The bears had come accustomed to human presence and were deemed by conservation officials to pose a threat to human safety. The event saddened and angered many community members and led them to work on ways to prevent future tragedies from occurring.
2016 has been a busy year for the Coast to Cascades Grizzly Bear Initiative. It saw several public events to discuss grizzly conservation strategies, an increase in our outreach and public education efforts and a strengthening of our relationship with local First Nations. We have been very heartened to see the broad support for grizzly bear recovery across Southwest BC.
If you had been travelling through what is now the American West 300 years ago, you would have had to share the land with thousands of grizzly bears. At one time the area was home to over 50 000 bears, with a range that extended all the way into Northern Mexico. Now there are around 2000 grizzly bears in the lower 48 states, occupying around 3% of their original range.
While we may think of the grizzly bear as an iconic BC species, it’s found around the world. In fact it has the third largest natural distribution of any mammal (after wolves and humans). Grizzly bears (or brown bears as they’re called outside North America) are found across Russia, Northeast Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
On November 8th, the Coast to Cascades Grizzly Bear Initiative and our partners at CPAWS-BC hosted a gathering on Skwxwú7mesh and St’át’imc Territory in Whistler, to discuss grizzly bear recovery in Southwest BC.
In August 2014 Whistler passed a resolution in support of the recovery of the threatened Grizzly Bear populations in southwest BC, since then the community Councils of Squamish, Pemberton, Lillooet, and the Board of the Squamish Lillooet Regional District, have all passed similar resolutions. This unanimous support for recovery throughout the entire Sea-to-Sky corridor, indicates the strong value both residents and visitors associate with maintaining the iconic grizzly bear in our backcountry.