Dr. Chris Filardi, Director of Pacific Programs, and partners with the Heiltsuk Integrated Resource Management Department (HIRMD) in British Columbia conducted a field expedition to the upper watershead of the Koeye River system to identify sockeye salmon and grizzly bear foraging sites in areas of cultural significance. The survey helped identify sites to expand fish surveys and grizzly bear hair sampling using snares for genetic analyses, which will build on the continuing and successful collaborations in research and management we have built in the region thanks to support from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, among others.
At the opening and traditional blessing of the new Koeye Lodge in August 2015, the Heiltsuk First Nation committed to establishing a grizzly sanctuary and have strengthened their ban trophy hunting of grizzly bears. The CBC was recognized as a primary partner going forward in all matters relating to First Nation Science and protected areas policy. This ceremonial partnership has led to numerous advances in conservation action within the 8 million hectares of Heiltsuk-controlled territory, including:
- mapping of grizzly bear habitat to guide forest management
- new policies, based on both science and local culture, that will help restore traditional fish harvesting
- support for a developing sacred geographies initiative, which will help protect additional areas of ecological and cultural significance.
Learn more about the CBC's research and conservation work in British Columbia.