Coastal Grizzlies on the Move

When Douglas Neasloss, Resource Stewardship Director and former Chief Counselor of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation, first noticed grizzly bears on coastal islands in B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest, he was concerned. Although mainland parts of his traditional territory contained both grizzly and black bears, only black bears were known to live on the islands. Neasloss told provincial government biologists, but was dismissed because “he was not a biologist.” Determined, he found allies at the Raincoast Conservation Foundation and University of Victoria who recognized the value of this local knowledge and could meaningfully combine it with science.

Recently, wildlife scientists published a study in the international peer-reviewed journal, PLOS ONE, affirming that Neasloss was right all along. Researchers from the Kitasoo/Xais’xais’ own Spirit Bear Research Foundation, Raincoast Conservation Foundation, and the Hakai-Raincoast Lab at UVic conducted a two-year survey of 14 islands in the Great Bear Rainforest – outside the range the B.C. government recognizes in its management of grizzlies. Ten islands showed evidence of resident grizzly bears…

A version of this article was first published on the Seaside Magazine website.

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Research scientist, Adam Warner conducting genetics research in our genetics lab.
Photo by Alex Harris / Raincoast Conservation Foundation.