Wild Tracks

On behalf of the world's wild species

Tag Archives: Great Bear Rainforest

Eco Tuesday: Pacific Wild

We are proud to bring you a new blog feature for Eco Tuesday. Each week, we’ll be highlighting one of the non-profit conservation groups working for the wildlife of the world. We’ll be including a link to their website, so you can learn more, and give them a helping hand.

Pacific Wild is an environmental non profit group studying wildlife ecology and behaviour in the Great Bear Rainforest. Located in the channel islands of coastal British Columbia, their mission is to publicize and protect this old growth temperate rainforest, home of the white spirit bear, found nowhere else in the world.

More than 20 years of concerted environmental effort has resulted in approximately 30% of the Great Bear Rainforest area being protected in various conservancy designations.

Grizzly bear family by Ian McAllister

While this is a step forward in protecting B.C.’s endangered rainforest, significant gaps remain. Trophy hunting of grizzly bears, wolves and other large carnivores remain sanctioned by the provincial government, even in many of the recently announced conservancy areas. Clearcut logging of intact salmon supporting watersheds is still commonplace, and a lack of marine protected areas leave the coast exposed to open net cage salmon farms, and other abuses of the marine environment. Year after year, the reality of collapsing salmon stocks – the foundation species for life on the coast – becomes more apparent.

Pacific Wild utilizes conservation biology through field research, web-based educational tools and other broad-based outreach projects. They raise awareness and educate people about this ecologically important region. By working with a diverse group of coalitions, non-government organizations, individuals, communities, First Nations and scientists, they develop effective strategies and relationships to achieve common solutions to environmental threats.

Their visually stunning website contains many magnificent photographs by Ian McAllister, who has  donated his work to Pacific Wild to further its mission of environmental protection for this ecological treasure.

Visit Pacific Wild.org or view the many excellent videos on their YouTube channel.


The Other White Bear

On the western coast of Canada, deep in the coastal rainforest, lives a unique bear.

The Kermode, or Spirit bear, is a genetic variation of the American black bear, and found nowhere else in the world. The white coat is thought to be caused by a recessive gene, and when two black bears who carry this gene mate, a white cub is born.

This video from The Nature Conservancy Canada tells the story of this beautiful inhabitant of the Great Bear Rainforest.

Wolves of the Coastal Rainforest

On the western coast of Canada lives a population of small wolves that are likely genetically distinct from their grey wolf cousins.

Pacific Coastal wolves are  have red-tinted hair instead of grey, exist largely on a marine diet and spend much of their time swimming between islands. This makes this wolf population unique in behaviour, looks, diet and genetic makeup, according to a study by The Raincoast Conservation Foundation.

Instead of relying on moose or elk like other wolf populations, coastal wolves have only small, black-tailed deer on their meat menu, so they turn to seafood. They eat spawning salmon, beached whales and even kill seals and seal pups.

True island wolves, they swim between foraging patches on the many islands, such as in the Broken Group or Clayoquot Sound.

No accurate population figures are available, but scientists estimate there are approximately 2,000 coastal wolves and they face increasing threats from loss of habitat, depletion of salmon stocks and trophy hunting.

If the coastal wolves are recognized as a distinct species, they would immediately qualify as an endangered species, and receive protection.

Paul Paquet, one of the study’s authors, describes some wolf habitat in B.C, including much of Vancouver Island, as a “wilderness ghetto” with tree farms instead of old-growth forest and roads intersecting forest, meaning increased hunting and trapping.  Resident hunters require no special permits for wolves, with a limit of three a year, and trappers have no bag limits.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Wolves of the Coastal Rainforest“, posted with vodpod

The research was headed by Violeta Munoz-Fuentes of Uppsala University in Sweden. Collaborating were the Smithsonian Institution, University of Victoria, University of Calgary and University of California, Lavoie writes. The study is to be published soon in the Journal of Biogeography, a peer-reviewed science journal.