Grizzly bears have been admired by inhabitants of these lands for generations: they are fiercely protective mothers, strong and fearless when called for, and share homes with us across the province—homes that are shrinking and dividing rapidly because of us.
Of the 50,000 kiʔlawnaʔ that used to roam freely across North America—from Mexico to the northern shores of the Arctic Ocean—mere hundreds remain in BC and Washington’s most critical populations. We need urgent conservation measures to protect these animals.
BC’S GRIZZLY BEARS ARE IN TROUBLE
In BC, there are 55 Grizzly Bear populations, and 60% of them are threatened. In the southwestern part of the province, there are fewer than 300 Grizzly bears remaining in six populations, with as few as 24 bears in the Stein-Nahatlatch population and six bears in the North Cascades population.
Habitat destruction and fragmentation from roads, logging, and human interactions are the top reasons that BC’s grizzly populations are hurting. Though Grizzly Bear trophy hunting is banned in the province, defensive shootings, garbage-related conflicts, and vehicle collisions continue to threaten them.
WHY THEY SHOULD BE PROTECTED
Grizzly Bears are a keystone species in North America, which means their presence in a landscape shows us how healthy or harmed an ecosystem is. Losing them means that other animals like moose can grow in number and decimate local vegetation, hampering biodiversity and leaving less food for other species that depend on it
They also help disperse berry seeds through eating and excreting plants, aerate soil when they dig up tubers in the fall, and introduce nitrogen to riverbed soil when salmon carcasses are left to decompose.
For the St’át’imc, sməlqmix / suknaʔkinx (Okanagan), Stó:lō, Nlaka’pamux, Sk̲wx̲wú7mesh Úxumixw (Squamish), and Secwépemc (Shuswap) Peoples, Grizzly Bears are of high cultural importance. They are healers and teachers, showing communities where to find food and how to raise children. Several of these First Nations have advocated for better protection of BC’s Grizzly Bears.
Despite the obstacles they face, there’s hope for our Grizzly Bears. Learn more about how these communities are protecting Grizzly Bears with support from Coast to Cascades, a coalition (including CPAWS-BC) working to sound the alarm for grizzlies in BC:
Video: Grizzly Bear Translocation Initiative: A Hope for the Stein-Nahatlach Grizzly Bear Population
If you go out in the woods today and see a Grizzly Bear, please call the reporting hotline: 1-855-GO-GRIZZ (1-855-464-7499)
Want to talk with someone who shares your love for bears? Call Sarah, Development Manager for ways you can support Grizzly Bear conservation efforts in BC. Call 604-685-7445 x33 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org