Photo: Cowboy Wildlife Photography
Grizzly Bear Presentation
Dear PWA Members,
We have lost several Grizzly Bears in recent years to poachers. These losses have been a huge set back to plans for Grizzly Bear recovery in South Western BC.
Due to our concerns about these losses, the PWA requested a meeting with a Provincial Biologist to discuss the situation. The April 17th, 2012 Grizzly Bear Presentation was well attended, with some 35 folks there to take in the show and learn about Grizzly Bears.
Wildlife Biologist Steve Rochetta presented an interesting slide show, explained the Provincial governments conservation plan for the Grizzly Bear and answered our questions. The Grizzly Bear is an iconic species - its presence on the landscape indicates a healthy eco system - something we should all strive for.
At the end of our meeting we came up with a four point plan which local residents can use to help protect the local Grizzly Bear population:
1) If you observe any suspicious hunting activity - this applies to all species and locations...
- do not approach the party in question - avoid confrontation
- if possible, take the vehicles licence number
- if you have a camera do your best to take photos of the scene
- record date, time and location
- call the REPORT ALL POACHERS AND POLLUTERS(RAPP) toll-free hotline as soon as possible with the details
RAPP LINE: Toll-free 1-877-952-7277 Cellular #7277
The RAPP line is manned 24 hours a day and is the very best way to get help as soon as possible. Please use it! The person answering your call will know where the CO's are at that moment and how to contact them immediately.
2) If you observe a Grizzly Bear on the valley floor or Lillooet River "flood plain" - where it is likely to come into contact with humans...
- contact Steve Rochetta as soon as possible.
- phone - 604-898-3678 extension 2231
- or email - Steve.Rochetta@gov.bc.ca
Steve will do his best to come up to Pemberton, observe the bear (or set up a camera) and try to manage the situation to avoid conflicts.
3) Collecting hair samples for DNA analysis
Many local land owners have barb wire fences around their property. There is a good chance of collecting hair samples from Grizzly Bears which "crawl" through these fences. Hair samples are an excellent way of identifying Grizzly Bears, as they provide a DNA sample. Anyone interested in adding to the already extensive Grizzly Bear DNA records can participate by :
- walking the fence line in question in the next week or two and cleaning all existing (old) hair samples from it.
- obtain sample envelopes from the PWA - which are to be labeled carefully and to be used for each individual sample.
- keep an eye on your fence line through the year and collect hair samples when possible. The hair will deteriorate in the sun so regular checks are a good idea.
We are looking for the long guard hairs which provide the best DNA - the fuzzy hair next to the hide is not as good.
Black Bear hair is usually one color from end to end while Grizzly Bear hair will show a color change. If in doubt, send it in for analysis.
- after ensuring that each individual sample is dry, place it in an envelope and store it in a dry, dark location.
- contact Mr. Rochetta to determine the best way to get the samples to him.
Photos are an excellent tool for Mr. Rochetta as he may be able to recognize the bear you have captured in the photo. Setting up "trail" cameras in appropriate locations is probably the best way to get these photos. You might be lucky enough to get a photo of a Grizzly on your own "handheld" camera too.
Please submit photos - along with the details of the location taken - to Mr. Rochetta by email.
By Allen McEwan
Pemberton Wildlife Association