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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

An 8 year U. of Alberta study of the "Grizzly maze" death trap that is the Elk Valley in British Columbia, Canada reveals that the huckleberries and buffalo berries that grow in abundance here are luring the bears into human settlements where they are being hit by cars and railroad cars.........In fact, over the past 8 years, Griz numbers have crashed from 271 bears to 163...............Preserving more wild habitat and using electric fencing to route bears around human conflict points are suggestions being put forth to bring down the Griz death rates here

A study suggests hungry grizzly bears drawn to bountiful berry crops in southeastern British Columbia are dying in disturbing numbers.
The fruit the grizzlies want to eat is in the same Elk Valley area where lots of people live and work, so bears end up being hit by vehicles and trains or being killed by hunters and poachers.
Clayton Lamb, a University of Alberta researcher, said the combination of great habitat and human activity has captured the grizzlies in what amounts to an ecological trap.
“In the last eight years, we’ve lost 40 per cent of our grizzly bears in that area — that’s not normal,” said Lamb, whose findings are being published Tuesday in the Journal of Animal Ecology.
Years of data shows more bears keep moving from the rugged backcountry to the Elk Valley area to find a rich supply of huckleberries and buffalo berries.
A study suggests hungry grizzly bears drawn to bountiful berry crops in southeastern British Columbia are dying in disturbing numbers.
Once tempted to the region, bears tend to stick around. They prey on livestock, eat apples from orchards or nose through garbage.
That in turn can lead to conflicts with people, including bear attacks.
“We have a number of attacks in this region annually,” Lamb said from Fernie, B.C. “We had more than one last year within the span of a couple of weeks.”
He estimates that over an eight-year period the population of grizzlies in the larger South Rockies research region declined to 163 from 271 — a loss of 108 bears.
The survival rate in the “ecological trap” is even lower.
The study notes that about 12,000 people live in the Elk Valley region year-round, but each summer there is a major influx of tourists. Four highways and one major rail line either run through or near the area.
Just over half the grizzly deaths are caused by collisions. About one-third are from hunting, which is legal in B.C., and the remainder are due to poaching and other causes.
Lamb said the provincial government can control how many bears are killed by hunters, but more research is needed on how to reduce collisions with vehicles and trains, and how to decrease conflicts with people.
Research shows the need to provide the grizzlies with a refuge from human development by maintaining critical habitat.

Berries, human


enticing East


 grizzlies to 

their deaths

Bears lured by the abundance 

of fruit and other

 foods near human settlements 

often end up killed

CBC News Posted: Sep 28, 2016 
A new University of Alberta study says the abundance of buffalo berries — like the kind this grizzly is eating — in the resource-rich Elk Valley means grizzly bears are increasingly encroaching on local towns and falling victim to human-caused deaths.
A new University of Alberta study says the abundance
 of buffalo berries — like the kind this grizzly is eating —
 in the resource-rich Elk Valley means grizzly bears are
increasingly encroaching on local towns and falling victim
 to human-caused deaths. (Alex Taylor/Parks Canada)
new University of Alberta study has found
 the Elk Valley in the East Kootenay has
 effectively become a death trap for B.C.'s
The study found the bears are attracted to the
 valley because of the huckleberries and buffalo
 berries that grow in abundance.
The problem is the nutrient-dense Elk Valley
 contains a number of small towns including
Jaffray, Fernie, Elkford and Sparwood,
 study author and PhD candidate Clayton Lamb.
When the bears come into contact with human
 settlements, they put themselves at greater risk
 of mortality.
"In the last month, we actually had five grizzly
bears killed by non-hunting sources," Lamb
explained. "It's quite a large portion of the
In fact, the study found bears in the region
 had a 17 per cent lower survival rate.

A bear death trap

The issue doesn't stop there.
When the bears die, Lamb explained, the
 reduced bear population in the area make it
attractive for other grizzlies to come in and
access easy food.
"The bears are looking for food ... [but] there's
 a mismatch between food and mortality."
He said bears flowing into the valley are
effectively marching into a trap.

Possible solutions

Lamb's study is based on eight years of
grizzly data from the region, and he said the
data shows nearly 40 per cent of grizzlies
that have wandered into the area have died.

While the grizzly hunt is one contentious cause of death, Lamb found 70 per cent of deaths in the region were caused by non-hunting reasons.
Non-hunting deaths — like those caused
 by road, rail and human-bear interactions
 — are harder to regulate and will require
much more education and behavioural
 adjustments, he said.
"These are pervasive problems that
 require quite a bit more effort on the
 side of the government, the people
and the community."
Lamb said preserving wild habitat,
using electric fencing, keeping people
out of the backcountry and equipping
people with non-lethal
 bear management tools like bear
 spray are some of the ways to
reduce bear mortality.

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