It was bitter-sweet to pour fish oil bait for the final time of the Spring 2018 Raincoast Conservation Foundation / Nuxalk Bear Study. I have grown rather fond of the nostalgia associated with whiffs of the fishy scent, which will soon lay dormant for another year. We use the non-reward bait to lure bears to non-invasive hair-snagging sites – sites that bears leave laden with their DNA in the form of fur. Now in our final round of visiting sites, our crew has started to dismantle hair-snagging stations while collecting the last big batch of samples for the season.
Humbled by the shear beauty and wilderness of this territory, saying so-long to each site is like saying so to a dear friend. Each one holds memories unique to place, not to mention hosts the grizzly and black bear visitors whom we seek to safeguard. Indeed, most sites are replete with bear sign upon each revisit, such as tracks, scat, and of course hair. The site shown here on the northwest shores of South Bentinck Arm is no exception. Nuxalkmc (Nuxalk people) know grizzly and black bears reside there – knowledge reiterated by the data we collect. Soon we will feast to another successful season of monitoring bears and advocating for the role of Indigenous knowledge systems – systems that endorse caretaking and responsibility – in local wildlife management.
By Kate Field
Raincoast Conservation Fellow