Grizzly Bears: At the Heart of Terrestrial Conservation
Before Europeans arrived in North America, a vast network of grizzly bear trails existed between California and Alaska. Today, the southern extent of the grizzly’s coastal range has been lost to logging and urbanization while hunting extirpated the bears themselves long ago. Today, only a few isolated habitats are occupied by grizzlies below the 49th parallel. This is one reason why the Great Bear Rainforest is critically important – it acts as a stronghold for the southern range of North America’s coastal grizzly bear population, supporting Canada’s largest and densest concentrations of grizzlies.
Our vision is to ensure that coastal grizzlies continue their presence as the top carnivore and apex predator in the coastal rainforest. Their challenge is to survive cumulative threats to which they have no evolved defenses – diminishing salmon resources, rapid climate change, industrial forestry, trophy hunting and global pollutants. We must fully consider these impacts to take informed action that will ensure their long term survival.
Over the last 15 years, Raincoast has been persistently working to remove and reduce the two largest threats to the long term presence of grizzlies in the Great Bear Rainforest (GBR) – habitat loss and hunting mortality. While we have made progress on both these fronts, both habitat loss and sport hunting continue in important parts of the GBR and Raincoast continues to address these issues. But increasingly, declining salmon stocks and climate change are superseding the historical threats to grizzly survival.
Salmon Carnivore Project
Raincoast’s innovative Salmon Carnivore Project examines the relationship between the health of coastal grizzlies and salmon abundance.
Along with abundance, food quality is also an important issue facing grizzlies. The consumption of salmon exposes grizzlies to risks from global organic pollutants such as PCBs, flame retardants and mercury.
Grizzly Habitat Protection
Despite protected areas in key parts of the GBR, habitat loss continues. In the face of other looming threats, access to desirable habitat is increasingly important and protecting grizzly habitat immediately necessary.
Ending the Grizzly Hunt
For over a decade, Raincoast has lead the campaign to stop the trophy hunting of grizzlies through purchasing the rights to commercial hunting territories.