May 9, 2013
Standing on a rocky outcrop in Salmon Bay, our field team spots a boat moving towards us on the horizon. As the boat approaches, we see our fellow bear researchers from Kitasoo Territory waving and grinning.
Today, our field crew—which is studying bears in Heitsuk Territory on what is now known as BC’s central coast—is joining the Kitasoo-Xai’xais crew from Klemtu for a day of training and to learn about each other’s projects. Our meeting takes place near the boundary of our two study areas, which contribute to a larger four Nation Central Coast Bear Working Group that is providing spatially seamless information about grizzly and black bears in the region. Both teams include local experts as well as members from the Hakai-Raincoast Applied Conservation Science Lab at the University of Victoria and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation.
Our day begins with us setting up a barbed-wire hair collection site, which we use for detecting and monitoring bears. From effective hammering techniques to rigorous record-keeping, both teams have finely tuned site set-up procedures developed over several field seasons. We enjoy sharing our experiences and knowledge to ensure that this year’s sample collection will be efficient and effective.
Once satisfied that our site is properly set up, we enjoy a picnic in the unusually warm and sunny weather. Afterwards, Doug Neasloss from the Spirit Bear Research Foundation takes us on a side trip to see pictographs and to search for a village site in a nearby watershed. We part with cheer at the end of the day, excited about the coming field season. Training is an annual ritual for our projects; this year’s joint training was particularly fun and we hope it will become a yearly tradition!