By Hillary Page, R.P. Bio, Nature Conservancy Canada
The recent death of a young grizzly sow on the train tracks near Banff has had a significant impact on the local grizzly bear population. Every year in BC and Alberta, grizzly bears are killed by residents, trains or Conservation officers because they have learned to seek out food near or at human settlements. Too many bears are dying in our backyards resulting in population declines and inhibition of population recovery.
Michael Proctor is one of the best known bear biologists in North America. His research has and continues to shape grizzly bear management in British Columbia. Michael’s research has revealed that most mortality in the South Selkirk and South Purcell/Yahk region is occurring on the periphery of areas where humans live. Reducing these bear deaths is one of the most important actions necessary to improve grizzly bear conservation status. Many grizzly bear deaths are preventable. Wildlife managers in NW Montana have been successfully ‘teaching” grizzly bears to avoid home sites and farms by using special hazing techniques. Managers have just started implementing these techniques in BC. It is important to intervene before a bear has received too much of a food reward. Bears that have learned to easily access human-based food over a period of time are too difficult to rehabilitate. But if the bear is deterred early enough, rehabilitation is very possible.
This summer, guests of CMH Summer Adventures have have an opportunity to spend some time at CMH’s Bobbie Burns Lodge to talk and hike with Michael Proctor. Michael will talk about his research and his work with Nature Conservancy of Canada. Michael has stated that NCC’s securement of key private lands that allow bears to move between mountain ranges without getting into trouble is one of the most important conservation tools available to wildlife population managers.
Learn more here about this unique opportunity to spend time with one of North America's preeminent grizzly bear researchers August 2-5, 2011 at CMH Bobbie Burns Lodge.
Photo: Michael Proctor working with a bear named Irish.