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Grizzly Bear Study

Location
Wells Gray GBPU in the Cariboo Mountain Range
Service Areas
Ecology
Project Status
In Progress

Service Areas
Ecology

Location
Wells Gray GBPU in the Cariboo Mountain Range

Partners
This study was initiated by Simpcw First Nation (Simpcw) and Estsék' Environmental Services LLP (Estsék') in 2016. Estsék', is a Limited Liability Partnership formed by Simpcw Resources LLP and Triton Environmental Consultants to provide environmental services within Simpcw Territory. Estsék' works closely with the Simpcw Natural Resource Department on a variety of ecology related projects.

Funding
Primary funding for the Study was provided by Environmental Climate Change Canada (ECCC) through the Terrestrial Cumulative Effects Initiative (TCEI). Funds were also provided for the Study through ECCC’s Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources (CIER) Species at Risk Act (SARA) Consultation, Cooperation and Accommodation Project, and the Thompson Nicola Conservation Collaborative (TNCC). These funds are provided to support Indigenous peoples’ and organizations’ meaningful participation in listing, recovery planning and recovery actions for terrestrial species at risk. With the approved funding from CIER, a Community Engagement, Knowledge Sharing and Capacity Building workshop took place in October 2022, to help guide the Grizzly Study planning. The TNCC provided support and funding to the engagement event through in-kind event marketing, facilitation and a funding support grant of $2,000.

The Simpcw Grizzly Bear Study, conducted by Simpcw Natural Resource Department (NRD) and Estsék’ Environmental LLP (Estsék’), focuses on estimating the population and monitoring trends of the Wells Gray Grizzly Bear Population Unit (WG-GBPU) in Simpcw Territory, British Columbia. This summary provides an overview of Year 2 (2022-2023) of the study. 

In the 2022 season, 23 hair snag trap stations were deployed across the North Thompson and Raft clusters, resulting in the collection of 403 samples. Preliminary analysis identified grizzly bears, black bears, and an unknown species among the samples. The DNA analysis of these samples will provide crucial information for estimating population size, assessing genetic connectivity, and understanding movement patterns within the study area. These findings will contribute to wildlife management and Indigenous-led conservation strategies. 

The collaboration between the study’s field crews and the Simpcw community fosters an inclusive and mutually beneficial approach to wildlife research and conservation. Community members, including hunters and backcountry users, were actively involved in the site selection process, ensuring that their valuable knowledge and input were incorporated. Transparency was maintained through the sharing of general site areas with the community, allowing for feedback and addressing concerns. 

Moving forward, the study acknowledges the importance of further enhancing community engagement prior to the second field season. Lessons learned from Year 1 will guide the improvement of community involvement, integration of Indigenous Ecological Knowledge (IEK), and alignment of research with community values and priorities. By combining scientific rigor with community collaboration, the study aims to contribute to effective, Indigenous-led Grizzly Bear conservation strategies in British Columbia.