From their position at the apex of the natural world, large carnivores, such as wolves, bears, and cougars, play important and unique roles. Relative to their abundance, these predators have a disproportionate influence on the environments they inhabit. Changes or fluctuations in their populations can cascade and reverberate through the landscape, affecting other species and the resilience of entire ecosystems.
Consequently, the widespread decline in numbers and distribution of large carnivores has triggered the loss and reconfiguration of biological diversity in habitats around the world.
The future of large carnivores and the integrity of landscapes they embody depend on science-informed management and policy decisions. Because large carnivores must be conserved in an increasingly human dominated world, a systematic and rigorous approach to their conservation must integrate their necessities for food and habitat with the social and economic aspirations of humans. Spanning geographies, governments, and the science-policy gap, Raincoast’s research programs deliver on our commitment and passion of consequential outcomes for large carnivores, people, and places.
Accordingly, in new work with the Heiltsuk Nation, Raincoast Lab researchers are assessing the response of predators and their prey to industrial clearcut logging. Supported by an array of remote cameras, our new research evaluates how logging has affected grizzly and black bears, wolves, cougars, and deer, all species that are culturally and ecologically important to the Heiltsuk. The information will inform long-term and landscape scale planning by First Nations, provincial, and federal governments as it relates to logging and habitat protection.
Emphasizing wolf recovery in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia and US Pacific Northwest, we have also extended our work on predators to a tributary of the Fraser River. In collaboration with the local First Nation, we are using cameras and acoustic recorders to understand human/wolf interactions, including ongoing effects of commercial forestry.
In addition to our research, we also advance greater protection for large carnivores through active conservation measures such as our novel commercial trophy hunting tenure acquisition program. Take a look at the Safeguarding Coastal Carnivores feature and please consider investing in this transformative initiative on the BC coast.
Paul C. Paquet, PhD
Senior Scientist, Carnivore Specialist
This is an excerpt from our annual report, Tracking Raincoast into 2024.
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