Letters to the editor 

Whistler Valley Bear Database Growing, Bears for Kids Growing — Thanks to Public and Parents

During the last nine years (1994-2002), research observations combined with public reports have totalled over 5,000 entries of black bear activity throughout Whistler valley. Data is inputted to map seasonal bear behaviours and habitat use. Phone calls or e-mails from residents and visitors are not necessarily always complaints but, questions, requesting advice, confirmation, or reports of interest to support bear conservation. The Whistler Black Bear Project exists to improve public understanding of black bears. Public bear reports have doubled over the last two years as more awareness is made toward the efforts of Whistler bear research and education.

Long-term research of bears stimulates long-term interest in the species. People enjoy learning, caring, and following the lives of local black bears. Your questions and information help to guide further research and improve education strategies. I can help you by providing information on the seasonal biology and behaviour of bears, how to avoid/respond to encounters, and most of the time specific information on individual bears, but I cannot take direct action because I am not consulted by local RCMP or wildlife officers. And to clarify some apparent confusion, I am not affiliated with the JJ Whistler Bear Society.

I would also like to extend appreciation to the children and their parents who support the Bear Research Camp for Kids. Since September 2001, 30 children (ages 10-16) have participated in a very successful program to allow students the opportunities for hands-on experience with local, unique wildlife research. Kids have helped tremendously with black bear field work. Whistler Parks and Recreation has supported the program and the Resort Municipality of Whistler (through Brian Barnett) has funded all school bear education programs from 1999-2002. I do not receive any funding in Whistler for direct bear research projects so when the kids come along it helps to complete a specific project through education funding.

Bear Research Camps for Kids continues this fall through winter with a new adult camp offered next spring.

Michael Allen

Whistler Black Bear Project

Paradise Valley

 

Come say goodbye

We would like to invite all our friends to celebrate our departure. I know, some of you are probably saying "finally!" while others are crying in their beers, but we must go. So please come to our party on Sunday, Aug. 11 to send us off in style.

We will miss our friends that we have made over the past 15 years, and it is tough to say ciao to such a great community – we will take our fond memories with us. And if you are ever in Invermere, look us up. For more info on the soiree please drop me a line at 604-894-1988.

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