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The guest slated to speak at AWARE’s AGM Thursday, Jan. 20 has a grizzly inclination with a conservation bent.

Wayne McCrory is a professional biologist and ecosystem research expert who specializes in bears. Based out of New Denver with an office in the Lower Mainland, McCrory is in demand by both the business sector and government organizations. He has worked on numerous government and private bear studies throughout Western Canada, including studies in 15 park areas. He has spent time reviewing the impacts of development, clearcut logging and road systems on grizzly bears as well as on other wildlife and ecosystems.

McCrory essentially wears two hats — one as a professional biologist focused on the science of bear conservation and another as a conservation advocate. He is one of the original founders of the Valhalla Wilderness Society formed to protect the Valhalla Range.

While pursuing his path as a professional biologist with a bear bent, McCrory spearheaded a drive to save the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Sanctuary, protected in 1992, and the White Grizzly (Goat Range) Park, protected in 1995. Collectively these areas represent almost 0.5 million acres of protected habitat for bears in both the Interior and Coastal temperate rainforests. McCrory is currently heading up the 10-year initiative to establish a 250,000 hectare conservancy in the rainforest area that serves as home to grizzlies, over 60 salmon streams plus the white kermode, or spirit bear.

McCrory served three years on the province’s grizzly bear scientific advisory committee formed by the B.C. wildlife branch to draft interim grizzly bear management guidelines for the Kootenay Boundary Land Use Plan. He has also worked on an environmental impact study in the Cayoosh range and was hired by the Western Canada Wilderness Committee to do an assessment in the Upper Elaho, the most contentious portion of the so-called Stoltmann Wilderness area.

McCrory has published numerous reports on bear ecology and conservation. He has also worked on bear hazard studies in numerous parks geared to developing programs to minimize conflict between people and bruins. He has published and co-authored seven scientific papers on his work as well as 45 technical reports.

The AGM gets underway at 7:30 p.m. in the Millar room at the Myrtle Philip Community Centre.

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