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.
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.
The Squamish Nation has joined neighbouring First Nations by declared a resolution calling for the protection and recovery of Stl'lhalem (grizzly bear) in their territory, highlighting that: "Stl'lhalem (grizzly bear) has been an integral and critical part of Squamish Nation culture since time immemorial - its presence in Squamish Nation territory is an indicator of the health of the Squamish Nation land and people".
Members of the public are invited to open houses on options for grizzly bear restoration in North Cascades ecosystem. Public comment period open through March 26, 2015.
The following is from a press release issued by the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Park Service on February 15th, 2015.
In a letter to PWA the BCWF highlighted: "A return to a healthy population of Grizzly Bears will also be a strong measure to indicate the health of that particular ecosystem. We believe that the reintroduction needs to be supported by habitat and population objectives for grizzly bears and other wildlife in the area".