A few years ago we began hosting an International Bear Day with Capilano University and the North Shore Black Bear Society with the intention of drawing more attention to the conservation of bears in all the places they occur. This year we have shifted to focus exclusively on co-existence with bears here in British Columbia. Regrettably, our timing is great.
This summer, while BC’s lower mainland has seen a marked uptick in the number of black bears killed, the same appears to be true across the province. Living on the North Shore and in the Lower Mainland, it’s been difficult to read the constant news stories, especially as so few end favourably for the bears. Many British Columbians are increasingly frustrated, given simple solutions exist. Unfortunately, like many others in their Carnivora order, bears are subject to a misplaced fear.
Family programming, 11am to 4pm
With education in mind, our free family day event (from 11am to 4pm) is specifically designed to inform and inspire children and families. There is something for everyone, with everything from bear yoga, to face-painting, bear research class, an adventure in wildlife photography with local wildlife photographer Ian Harland, music, treats from Earnest Ice-Cream, and fun activities from a host of community partners (listed below).
Speakers and panel discussion, 6pm to 8pm
In the evening (6-8pm booking required), we will shift gears with the main theme being co-existence; a modern term, but not a new concept. In that spirit, we will be welcomed by Charlene Aleck from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and then the Takaya dancers. The evening’s main speaker will be Doug Neasloss, Stewardship Director for the Kitasoo /Xai’xais Nation and lead guide for Spirit Bear Adventures. Following Doug, other experts will join a panel to discuss how we can advance effective co-existence with bears throughout BC, including the communities adjacent to the mountains and forests that surround much of Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.
Raincoast’s own research on conflict with grizzly bears and ecology of conflict revealed that increased conflict with grizzly bears in BC correlated with decreased salmon abundance. Our research is also informing ecosystem based fisheries management that considers the dietary needs of bears; we are partners in the Co-existing with Carnivores Alliance that is addressing these issues on Southern Vancouver Island.
Focusing back on the Lower Mainland, attractants in the form of poorly managed garbage remain a key culprit. Groups like the North Shore Black Bear Society are working hard to reduce human-bear conflict, working with the public, schools and local municipalities. Ultimately, co-existence requires tolerance, respect and effective communication. Values that those more familiar with bears would tell you that these large carnivores also share.
So, whether you bring your family for the afternoon, or join us in the evening, mark your calendar for the 22nd September and the Pipe-Shop in North Vancouver.
Bears deserve the opportunity to co-exist and this is your opportunity to play a part.
Community partners at the event include
- Ancient Forest Alliance,
- Bluewater Adventures,
- Capilano University,
- the Commercial Bear Viewing Association,
- Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society,
- Coast to Cascades Grizzly Bear Initiative,
- Earnest Ice Cream,
- Fur Bearers Association,
- Grizzly Bear Initiative,
- Grizzly Bear Foundation,
- Lighthouse Park Preservation Society,
- North Shore Black Bear Society,
- Patagonia Vancouver,
- Pacific Salmon Foundation,
- Watershed Watch