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The Grizzly Bear: A Slowly Disappearing Symbol of the Canadian Wilderness

The Grizzly Bear: A Slowly Disappearing Symbol of the Canadian Wilderness

Note: This is a guest blog post written by Evelyn Senyi, Digital Marketing Coordinator for the Nature Conservancy of Canada. The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the country’s leading national land conservation organization.

From the coastal forests of British Columbia to the grasslands of the central plains, the grizzly bear once ruled the Canadian wilderness. Weighing in at 100-400 kilograms (220-880 pounds) and standing up to eight feet tall, the solitary grizzly is one of the strongest and most impressive mammals in North America.

Today, grizzlies have been wiped out from an estimated 50% of their historic global range and have lost 98% of their habitat in the lower 48 United States. In Canada, roads, environmental destruction and other human impacts are fragmenting habitats for wildlife populations, including this majestic bear.

Grizzlies require vast tracts of land to survive and thrive as a species — the home range of a male can be up to 2,000 square kilometers or more. They are also the slowest reproducing large carnivore in North America, with females reproducing once every three years. This means that reducing their room to roam also reduces their chances of successfully finding a mate.

Less than 10% of the range currently occupied by grizzlies is classified as protected.

As a result of long-term studies of wide-ranging wildlife populations, conservation scientists have determined that a key priority of our land conservation strategy here in Canada must be the protection and creation of corridors or connectors. Wide-ranging species like grizzlies, elk and lynx cannot survive on isolated islands of protected areas.

These wilderness corridors or connectors act like roadways for wildlife, allowing them to move between areas of natural habitat. Many species have different sites for feeding and reproducing. If one of these sites is destroyed or compromised, corridors are critical to finding new sites.

British Columbia’s Tatlayoko Valley is an example of a vital wildlife corridor that the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is helping to protect. This valley helps maintain connections between the province’s coastal grizzly bear populations and interior bear populations, allowing the species to maintain genetic diversity. NCC has protected several properties in the area so far, including the 940 acre Tatlayoko Lake Ranch.

Alongside conserving habitat, NCC also assists in population surveys for grizzlies in both British Columbia and Alberta. These surveys help researchers understand how protected corridors are helping grizzlies move between larger areas, and determine these bears’ family relationships, as well as their dietary habits and population sizes.

For 50 years, NCC has been working across the country to protect significant, threatened habitat. Working with our donors, partners and Canadians across the country, we’ve helped to conserve more than 2.6 million acres (1 million hectares) so far.

NCC’s goal is to create a network of protected places that includes both large protected areas and natural corridors, so that species like the grizzly bear will have ample room to roam. Working together with landowners, communities and passionate Canadians like you, we can ensure that our children and grandchildren can also enjoy these places and the species that live in them.

If you believe that protecting habitat for endangered species like the grizzly bear is important, please pledge to support conservation efforts to save Canada’s at-risk species today.

Related Posts:

5 Things You Need To Know About Wildlife Corridors

Orphaned Grizzly Bear Cubs Rescued In Canada

Yellowstone Grizzlies To Stay On Threatened List

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Photo: Grizzly bear cub, by Darren Colello

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86 comments

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3:19PM PDT on Jun 10, 2013

Yes, thank you for helping to share this crucial information - I would simply add that all these cases need to be tied into the global call from scientists to reverse/stop climate-change trends by reducing emissions, protecting wilderness (wildlife habitats) from destruction, switching to clean/renewable energy & going green/sustainable... & tie THOSE requirements to the applicable human activities (eg. which products result from deforestation, getting govts. on board with stricter legislation, reducing auto usage, incentives for sustainable co's/operations, stopping all wildlife 'culling', going vegan etc.) to bring about the widespread awareness that will force positive changes at the governmental/community level as well as at the multination-corporation level... Protecting nature from destruction IS one of our key responsibilities now, people, & needs to be prioritized - GLOBALLY!

11:29AM PDT on Apr 28, 2013

thanks for sharing

4:30PM PDT on Mar 31, 2013

This makes me so sad. :(

10:05AM PDT on Mar 22, 2013

Dear Mark D,
I'm against death penalty, still, feeding Harper and his crew to grizzlies is a tempting idea

9:21PM PDT on Mar 19, 2013

Another casualty of humans.

2:35PM PDT on Mar 18, 2013

Very sad.

2:10PM PDT on Mar 18, 2013

So sad. Canadians can do better than this I just know they can.

2:04PM PDT on Mar 18, 2013

Thank you Care2 Causes Editors, for Sharing this!

8:57AM PDT on Mar 18, 2013

I have seen these wonderful bears on a trip to Alaska. It would be a shame to lose them. Thank you for helping.

3:32AM PDT on Mar 18, 2013

signed and noted.

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Promising information. I'm pretty sure that it will be the Greedocracy Corporations that will be flocking…

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