Blog

Living with Bears: Embracing a Miracle of Nature

Between 2011 and 2020, nearly 5000 bears were killed by the Conservation Officer Service (COS) in British Columbia. Last year alone, 631 bears were killed. This year, the cruel trend continues. Bear traps are popping up in our neighbourhoods; bears are trapped, killed, and their bodies dumped somewhere in a landfill. As always, all this happens in the name of a distorted notion of public safety.
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Social Injustice Affects BC’s Vulnerable

Our issues involving wildlife are linked to ‘social injustice’ starting at the very top and are many layered. Our society’s way of ignoring what is in plain sight and not dealing with hard truths makes it very challenging to change the paradigm that continues to re-victimize those most vulnerable in our society, including wildlife.
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For Jeanie, my ursine friend

Thanks to Jeanie, we now have a richer understanding of bears, their strengths and weaknesses, their individuality and the depth of mother-love. She showed us that bears have unique emotions, quirks and personalities, and that perhaps we are more similar to bears than we imagined. Jeanie brought joy to all who were privileged to spend time in her company. She is truly missed.
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Why Bears?

Bears play an important role in the environment. We are just beginning to learn how bears positively impact the environment. For example, bears play a role in fertilizing forests by dragging salmon carcasses throughout forests and depositing scat on the forest floor. In eating fruit and nuts, they disperse seeds. And each seed is deposited on the forest floor with a little ‘fertilizer’ to get it started. Bears also help to clean up carcasses and, as predators, they help keep populations such as deer and moose in balance. Bears are also a good indicator species. Bears need a variety of…
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A Bear’s Bill of Rights

A bear has the right to expect that you will: be an educated resident of bear country and be willing to accommodate the needs of bears into your lifestyle and daily habits have realistic expectations about living in bear country; to realize that is unacceptable to attract bears to your property with improperly stored garbage, recycling, bird feeders, smelly compost, and barbecue grease among other enticing non-natural attractants set aside the necessary time to properly dispose of your garbage; clean your barbecue; and pick ripe fruit from your trees take responsibility for your actions in a bear’s habitat while hiking…
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The power of words

Whether you’re an educator, resident, scientist or wildlife officer, as someone who cares about bears, it’s your responsibility to spread the bear smart word – choosing your words carefully. Words are powerful. They can find their way deep into the very fabric of our being and belief systems, shaping our thoughts and actions. Words influence our perceptions and affect attitudes. They can inspire and encourage the right behaviour; or hinder and create apathy and inaction. In Yosemite: The Embattled Wilderness, historian Alfred Raunte notes that even well-meaning bear advocates use terms like “marauding,” “offending,” and “trouble-some” to describe the very…
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Listening to bears has shown us this…

Hi friends, for some reason, I have been thinking a lot about bears lately. The opportunity to learn from bears about who they are has given me a feeling of responsibility to pass on to others what bears have been willing to share with me. And it’s not just me, as bears have courageously revealed their deepest mysteries to those who are simply willing to listen. Bears are a part of an sophisticated and evolved society that we’re just starting to understand. They are not the antisocial loners that we have been taught they are, but instead bears have culture,…
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Can we coexist?

By Dr. Lynn Rogers Each year in the USA and Canada, 1 in 16,000 people commit murder, 1 in 35,000 grizzly bears kills a human, and 1 in 100,000 black bears kills a human (Source: US Department of Justice) In working with wild black bears for the past 35+ years, I have generally become more and more comfortable with them as I learned their “language” and how they think. During the last 10 years, I have earned the trust of certain bears and bear families to the extent that they seem to ignore me as I walk and sleep with…
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Becoming a Bear Smart Community

The Minimalist’s Guide Living in a Bear Smart community is not something that happens by accident or without hard work from a few, commitment from many, and buy-in from everyone. Wherever human communities bump up against bear ranges there are bound to be human-bear conflicts and – sadly – without intentional advocacy on behalf of the bears, the bears always lose. Thankfully throughout North America, communities of passionate people are forming around the call to reduce human-bear conflicts and good is being done to protect, respect, and advocate for our bears. Yet, there are still many communities across North America…
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The role of people and bears in negative interactions

As human development increases, so will the number of interactions people have with bears. Often, the areas where people settle, such as in lush valley bottoms or along salmon spawning streams, are prime bear habitat – a healthy environment for people is a healthy environment for bears. The potential for encounters with bears is greatly amplified in these areas where human and wildlife habitat overlap, particularly when people make their garbage and other foods readily available to wild animals. Most bears that come into human-use areas are simply looking for food or safety, not trouble. The role that people and…
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If bears could read

by Linda Masterson If bears could read, I would have written Living with People, so they’d understand that failing to figure out how to peacefully coexist with the humans could cost them their lives. Bears are so smart they would immediately adopt the behaviors necessary to survive. But only humans have the power to prevent conflicts with bears. So I wrote Living with Bears Handbook instead.  I worked with bear experts from all over North America and dug up all the latest information and tools people need to understand bears, prevent conflicts and peacefully share space. I believe that understanding…
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Giving Bears a Voice: Make Peace not War

If you’re of the mindset that you can “fight the war on” anything, you are dead wrong. War begets war. Fighting begets fighting. So what are you supposed to do then? Sit back and let bad sh*t happen? NO! Contrary to what we might think, or the way we may have done things before, we can create positive change and advocate for a peaceful coexistence by lifting ourselves above anger. “Martin Luther King Jr. was outraged by legalized segregation, but his nonviolent temperament lifted him above personal anger. Mahatma Gandhi was outraged by the British colonization of India, but his…
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