Grizzly visions, dreams and celebrations on Canada Day
With my eyes closed I hear a faint tearing and munching sound against the gentle patter of the rain. Childhood memories picture Friesian Holsteins chewing the cud in my native England, but looking across the water I see no black and white. Crouched in a zodiac with boyish grin, I watch a grizzly bear mother and her two cubs grazing placidly on sedge grass. These were the dreams of a future Raincoaster, but I’m in the Khutzeymateen, Canada’s only grizzly bear sanctuary; this place is very real and one that all Canadians can celebrate.
Over a few June days we’ve watched grizzly bears dig for clams, play with logs, scratch, itch, nurse, swim, stroll, stretch and yawn, all with apparent ambivalence to our presence. Here, our souvenirs are indelible memories, our only trophies are photographs. Contributing to the conservation of bears and wolves is the realization of a personal dream that once seemed far-fetched reading Raincoast’s Notes from the Field at my desk in England.
Although the bear’s general pattern is eat, sleep, repeat, the mothers are constantly alert; and sensing their trust first-hand was a deeply humbling experience. Lifted head, pricked ears, and flared nostrils search for hints of males. Their focus at this time of year includes mating opportunities and some bears carry visible wounds from spurned advances.
In a similar way Raincoast is alert to the threats other bears continue to face across the rest of this coast and elsewhere in BC. Our planned acquisition of the remaining commercial trophy hunting tenures throughout the Great Bear Rainforest, combined with a closure of the resident hunt, would create the world’s largest grizzly bear sanctuary right here in BC. This is our vision and we need your help.
We hope that you, your friends and family can always celebrate grizzly bears on Canada Day, so please click on the donate button to help make our vision a reality and celebrate these magnificent Canadians.
For the coast,
Ross Dixon, Policy and Program Manager
We need your support!
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Ross Dixon, large carnivore enthusiast, is the Policy and Program Manager for Raincoast.
You can find more information on Raincoast’s grizzly bear work on our website here.
Photo credits: Ross Dixon