Hungry grizzlies enticed into giving away secrets

Photo from Raincoast remote camera

By Judith Lavoie, Times Colonist August 31, 2011

Every spring and fall, William Housty walks the banks of the Koeye River, spreading a concoction with a smell almost guaranteed to make humans retch.

But the mixture of salmon oil, boiled down beaver juice, skunk essence and berries is irresistible to grizzly bears and, as the animals are drawn to the pungent mixture, snags of their hair, caught on strategically-placed barbed wire, tell their stories.

For six years, members of Heiltsuk First Nation have set up bear hair snare stations to help them learn more about the habits of grizzlies that share their vast traditional territory in the Great Bear Rainforest near Bella Bella and, helped by data-sharing with Victoria-based Raincoast Conservation Foundation, a detailed scientific analysis of the bears’ diet and movements is being compiled.

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