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.
First Nations and scientists have long recognised that grizzly bears are barometers of wilderness and the health of ecosystems. They require large tracts of wild habitat with rich, diverse and seasonal foods like berries, roots and salmon. When grizzly bears are present, we know that these same healthy wild landscapes also provide our society clean water, robust forests and diverse wildlife. Coast to Cascades grizzly bears are an early warning system indicating how well we are stewarding natural systems for future generations.
When talking about grizzlies we often find that the topic of guns comes up. While there is no legal hunting in the five threatened populations focused on by COASTtoCASCADES, the greatest loss of bears is through them being shot. These shootings are either due to illegal poaching or instances of real or perceived human-bear conflict. So how to reduce the likelihood of human-bear conflict when in bear country? Well, we can adopt habits that will keep us safe, such as: