Bear and salmon research in Heiltsuk Territory

This progress report provides a 2013 update for the Salmon Carnivore project – a study that looks at the relationship between bear health and salmon abundance – being undertake with the Heiltsuk in their traditional territory of BC’s Great Bear Rainforest.

Download 2013 Salmon Carnivore Project Update

Three seasons of bear research-cover

Important findings in this report include:

  •  Cortisol, an important hormone associated with general long-term stress levels, decreased as salmon consumption increased in grizzly bears, suggesting stress from poor salmon years was physiological and directly related to limitation of a critical food source (pg 12)
  • In black bears, cortisol was more related to total salmon availability (amount of salmon in the area streams, as opposed to salmon actually eaten), suggesting competition among bears over poor salmon returns might be causing greater stress than starvation (pg 12)
  • In both grizzlies and black bears, testosterone, an important hormone related to aggression and competition, decreased in years with high salmon returns, suggesting that these years corresponded with less competition among bears. (pg 12)
  • Our analyses compared the distribution of government-modeled spring habitat across the territory to distribution and relative abundance of grizzly bears detected from our field work. While number of detected grizzlies and modeled habitat suitability are different metrics, the government’s estimates of grizzly populations are based on modeled habitat suitability (pg 10) … Some important discrepancies were noted. Of highest concern, government models only predicted medium densities of high quality bear habitat in the Koeye/Nootum landscape unit, whereas our study has detected a high density of bears (pg 10).


Help us protect KELÁ_EKE Kingfisher Forest

Together with Pender Islands Conservancy, we are raising funds to purchase and permanently protect a 45 acre forested property on the edge of the Salish Sea. The KELÁ_EKE Kingfisher Forest is located within the Coastal Douglas-fir (CDF) biogeoclimatic zone, one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in Canada. It is also among the most threatened in Canada. Protecting these forests is an investment in our collective future.

We are eight months into our  campaign and are 65% of the way to our fundraising goal. This acquisition is a tangible way that you can help protect forest lands and build climate resilience!