A bear's journey

Posted on

What’s life without connection?

There’s nothing quite like the sense of connection I feel seeing a grizzly bear’s eyes on me from across an alpine meadow, the graceful leap of a mountain goat up a cliff, or the powerful gallop of a wolverine across a glacier.

This difficult year has laid bare which connections are essential for our lives. My connection to the wild and the wild creatures we’re so lucky to share this planet with is what keeps me going.

But for our wildlife, connection is harder to find every year. They need room to roam. They need wilderness to travel in search of mates. And yet we’re pushing further into every corner of our remaining wilderness every day. Will you make a gift to defend the wild and protect wildlife?

Photo: Joe Riis, ILCP

Imagine you’re a young male grizzly bear, ready to make it on your own, away from your mother. You’ve learned how to forage and feed yourself, how to fatten yourself for your winter den. But now, it’s time to claim a territory of your own and, soon, to find a mate. You strike out from the mountains and valleys that you know so well in search of a place you can call your own.

Our fractured landscapes make your journey difficult and dangerous. The speeding truck or train can end your life in an instant, but it’s the constant stress of endless backcountry roads and their traffic, of humans and their noisy machines that makes your journey so hard. Cities and rural developments block your way. Freshly logged valleys give up little to eat. There are so few wild places left for you.

Your ancestors were kings of all they could see, from Mexico to the Arctic Circle, but people have already broken up the wilderness you need, leaving only the Rocky Mountains and the Purcells to connect bears from the few remaining populations south of the US border with the still wide open spaces to the north.

But even here in the Purcells and the Rockies, we’re losing our wild places every day to the chainsaw, the excavator and the dozer, and out of control recreation. Will you make a gift today to protect the wilderness that grizzly bears need to connect?

Nature is resilient, but we can only cut away so much before things fall apart. In the Purcells and the Rockies, we’re getting closer to that point every day. For bears, wolverines and other wildlife, once those connections are severed, it’s so hard to bring them together again. Without connection, wildlife can’t survive.

We’re so lucky to have parks that protect some of our most valuable wild places here in the Kootenays. But parks don’t keep our wildlife safe if they’re not connected across the landscape.

Your gift for wildlife will defend creatures large and small and the mountains they call home. Your gift will fight to connect our parks and protected areas with safe passages for bears and wolverines. Will you give today to stand up for the wild?

When you stand up for the wild, you’re not just defending bears and wolverines, you’re fighting for clean water for fish, for our climate and for the wild homes of every creature, large and small. You’re fighting for the rivers rushing from our mountain valleys, our old growth forests and our alpine meadows. You’re fighting for our future.

Earlier this year, I was hiking up to a windswept ridge top in the Elk Valley to visit a rare alpine grassland that is the winter home for bighorn sheep. As we started our hike, a trail camera captured our images. While we were up on the ridge, the camera saw a mother grizzly and her two cubs ambling up the same trail. When I saw myself and the grizzlies, side by side in photographs, I wondered what was in store for those cubs as they grew up and left their mother behind. Would they find safe passage through our mountains in search of a new home?

Their chances aren’t good. More than ten grizzlies a year die in the Elk Valley here in the Rocky Mountains—but they don’t have to. We know what we have to do to keep bears safe. Together, we can write a better ending to their story.

For the wild,
Robyn Duncan
Executive Director

p.s. Can you give for bears all year round? Your monthly donation will fight for wildlife and wild places every day of the year.