Study Shows Expansion in Range of Grizzly Bears on B.C.'s central Coast

Grizzly bears have been reported moving on B. C.'s central coast and colonizing 10 central coast islands. A study has revealed that grizzlies are increasingly moving outside their current accepted range, which is a clear indication that they are making attempts to expand their range.

Using non-invasive methods, like remote cameras and hair snags, researcher detected females and cubs on four islands, said the study's lead author, Christina Service, a University of Victoria PhD candidate in geography. The findings suggest the provincial government to extend the sort of habitat-conservation measures on the 10 islands in order to protect the grizzlies.

The study also revealed that the expansion of grizzly bears has sought a rise in the past 10 years. Grizzlies also compete with black bears for habitat. Drop in salmon production since 2000 is a big reason behind the shift in grizzlies.

The study has been published in the PLOS ONE scientific journal by Spirit Bear Research Foundation, Raincoast Conservation Foundation, and the University of Victoria. The findings clearly showed evidence of grizzlies in 10 of 14 surveyed islands. The grizzlies have not been provided protection by government law as of now.

"These are sensitive creatures, and as it stands now the management boundary by the province ends rather abruptly before the islands. We've suggested that the boundary should be dragged out westward as the grizzlies move", said Haki-Raincoast scholar and assistant professor at UVic Chris Darimont. Over two years, 149 grizzly observation records were gathered by study researchers on 14 islands.

Raincoast executive director Chris Genovali said the study has also raised concerns for forest management and industrial activity in the Great Bear Rainforest.

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