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Wolves splash around in an intertidal zone of the Great Bear Rainforest

Large Carnivores

Large carnivores play an important role in ecosystems. Cougars, wolves and bears, for example, are imposing predators.  In the animal world, their presence alone (regardless of whether they hunt and kill prey) creates a ‘landscape of fear’ which keeps their prey (from deer to raccoons and coyotes) from consuming everything they find or trampling sensitive habitats.

The fear these top predators inspire can have cascading effects down the food chain – a phenomenon that is critical to maintaining healthy ecosystems. Their role makes large carnivore conservation all the more valuable given the ‘ecosystem service’ they provide to the health of other species and the landscape. For more on the science that Raincoast has contributed to this understanding click here.

Wolves

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Coastal wolves that swim between inlets and islands and make much of their living from marine resources, can rightfully be called ‘maritime mammals’. Photo: Randy Carpenter

BC is one of the only places on our planet where wolves take to the sea, swimming among forested islands to feed on salmon, seals, and beached whales. In the traditional territories of Coastal First Nations, wolves live a unique and precious existence — one we work hard to safeguard.

Wolves in the Great Bear Rainforest face less persecution than elsewhere in BC – for now.  In the BC interior and Alberta, wolves are the target of widespread and unrestrained sport hunting. They are also the target of lethal “predator management” by governments who unjustly blame wolves for livestock predation and the reduction in caribou herds. Raincoast produces and applies the best available science to highlight the flaws in current wolf management, including the inhumane and unscientific nature of wolf culls.

Read more about our Wolf Program

Grizzly Bears

Ancient bear trail leading to rubbing tree Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, British Columbia This trail of permanent indents was created by generations of bears following exactly in each other's footsteps. Such mark trails usually lead to rubbing trees where bears scent-mark their territories. Both black and grizzly bears make mark trails.

Ancient bear trail in Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest: Photo Roberta Olenik

This trail of permanent indents was created by generations of bears following exactly in each other’s footsteps. Such mark trails usually lead to rubbing trees where bears scent-mark their territories. Both black and grizzly bears make mark trails.

Before Europeans arrived in North America, a vast network of grizzly bear trails connected California to Alaska. Today, the southern extent of the grizzly’s coastal range has been lost to hunting, logging and urbanization with only a few isolated habitats occupied below the 49th parallel.  As such, the Great Bear Rainforest acts as a critical stronghold for the southern extent of North America’s coastal grizzly bears, supporting Canada’s largest and densest concentrations of grizzlies.
Our vision is to ensure that coastal grizzlies continue their presence as the majestic carnivore that most defines the Great Bear Rainforest.  Preserving their status as an umbrella species also ensures the survival of other species that exist within the grizzlies’ extensive range.

Read more about our grizzly program