Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Chilcotin Holidays

A Bear of a Report

When I came here, I had very limited wilderness experience. I have a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Guelph. I came to the ranch to learn more about wilderness. I lived in Southern Ontario where there isn’t a lot of wilderness. I felt stressed without access to nature.

On June 13th, two grizzly bear experts walked through Chilcotin Holiday ranch doors. A. Grant MacHutchon is a wildlife biologist based in Nelson and Jolene Patrick is the Community Prevention and Education personnel at Coast to Cascade Grizzly Bear Initiative; who is also a resident of D’arcy and a member of the N'Quatqua First Nations. They are conducting a survey on grizzly bear risks and encounters in the Lillooet and Chilcotin area for the Ministry of Forest, Land and Natural Resource Operation. In the previous weekend, they had a reception about grizzly bears and bear risks in Gold Bridge. They dropped in on us on that Tuesday morning to collect more data for their report. The visit consisted mostly of an in-depth discussion on our own experiences with the over 200 grizzly bears that live in surrounding mountain ranges. We also offered them our grizzly sighting and DNA data, for which we have been collecting for the past 15 years.

What I most got out of this discussion is the how important bear safety education is; not just for humans but grizzly bears too. In effect, a two-tier education program is needed to keep grizzlies and humans safe in bear country. Humans need to be educated about how to live with bears; bear safety in the wilderness, garbage disposal techniques, bear awareness, etc. The grizzly bears need to be educated that humans are dangerous and to avoid human habitation. Both experts agree that the most dangerous bears are those who becomes habituated to human presence and those who eat garbage. To avoid human-bear conflicts, both species needs to avoid each other and give each other needed space. One point of discussion we all agreed upon is that bear safety should be educated in the school system throughout British Columbia. Canada is famous for our wilderness. Our wilderness contains dangers those of us who live here and are capable of enjoying said wilderness should be aware of. Due to the increasing human encroachment into wilderness and number of eco-tourists in the area, we can’t afford to be ignorant of those dangers.

Jing, Canada

Chilcotin Holidays

About Chilcotin Holidays

We are a licensed guide outfitter and we conduct guided wilderness adventures throughout our 5,000 square km operating area. This guide area has been operational since 1880, making it the oldest in British Columbia. More about us HERE.

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