Grizzly Bears: At the Heart of Terrestrial Conservation
Before Europeans arrived in North America, a vast network of grizzly bear trails existed between California and Alaska. Today, the southern extent of the grizzly’s coastal range has been lost to logging and urbanization while hunting extirpated the bears themselves long ago. Today, only a few isolated habitats are occupied by grizzlies below the 49th parallel. This is one reason why the Great Bear Rainforest is critically important – it acts as a stronghold for the southern range of North America’s coastal grizzly bear population, supporting Canada’s largest and densest concentrations of grizzlies.
Our vision is to ensure that coastal grizzlies continue their presence as the top carnivore and apex predator in the coastal rainforest. Their challenge is to survive cumulative threats to which they have no evolved defenses – diminishing salmon resources, rapid climate change, industrial forestry, trophy hunting and global pollutants. We must fully consider these impacts to take informed action that will ensure their long term survival.
Our current work
For the last 20 years, Raincoast has worked persistently to remove and reduce the two largest threats to the long-term presence of grizzlies in the Great Bear Rainforest (GBR) – habitat loss and hunting mortality. In November 2017, the BC provincial government announced their commitment to finally end the trophy hunting of grizzlies in the GBR. We will work alongside the province and First Nations to complete our acquisition of commercial hunting territories thus ending both the ‘Resident’ and ‘Commercial’ hunt in this antiquated ‘sport’ on the coast. Increasingly, declining salmon stocks and climate change are superseding the historical threats to grizzly survival.
Ending the Grizzly Hunt
For over a decade, Raincoast has lead the campaign to stop the trophy hunting of grizzlies through purchasing the rights to commercial hunting territories.
Salmon Carnivore Project
Raincoast’s innovative Salmon Carnivore Project examines the relationship between the health of coastal grizzlies and salmon abunda
Grizzly Habitat Protection
Important gains have been made to protect grizzly habitat in key parts of the Great Bear Rainforest, but the loss of complex old-growth forests continues through other parts of the coast. In the face of other looming threats, access to desirable habitat is increasingly important and protecting grizzly habitat immediately necessary.
Year two of grizzly bear behaviour monitoring in the Atnarko Corridor, Nuxalk Territory
Patience, attention to detail, and the ability to adapt are a few human qualities that many strive to attain. Grizzly bear field research here on the Atnarko River, Nuxalk Territory, affords our crew the opportunity to develop those traits and put them to the test.
Where bears, fish, and humans roam
Transitioning between seasons can often push your senses to work overtime. This is especially true in summer and autumn in the Atnarko River corridor, where the river comes alive with Chinook, chum, pink, sockeye, and coho salmon runs. The smell of a river containing spawned-out fish is unforgettable, and one I have grown fond of. […]
Salmon, bears and people
Grizzly and black bears do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to connecting marine and terrestrial ecosystems along the coast. As fish return each fall to spawn, bears catch salmon and eat them along the river banks or adjacent forests, leaving food and nutrient sources for hundreds of species of scavengers on […]
Letter: Protection of grizzly bears should be strengthened in the expansion of the Species at Risk Act
Raincoast supports the proposal to list 13 new terrestrial species to Schedule 1 of Canada’s Species at Risk Act. While we are encouraged by this, the focus of this submission is on grizzly bears…