Presentation Title

Grizzly Bear Behavioural Changes in Response to Sudden Fish Decline in an Interior Salmon System

Format of Presentation

Poster to be presented the Friday of the conference

Abstract

Landlocked kokanee salmon are an important food source for grizzly bears in the Lardeau River Valley. A local bear-viewing company has been collecting citizen-science data on grizzly bear sightings since 2012. Following a catastrophic decline in kokanee numbers, bear activity in the valley has changed in space and time. In this study I combine kokanee enumeration data collected by the provincial government and bear sighting data collected by citizen scientists in order to evaluate the impacts of a changing salmon population on bear activity and behaviour. I found that, while grizzly bears have the dietary plasticity to change their habits in the short-term, their predator-prey relationship with salmon is important for continued success in the Lardeau River Valley. The results of this study are relevant given ongoing climate change and salmonid crashes within grizzly bear range.

Department

Biological Sciences

Faculty Advisor

Nancy Flood

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Grizzly Bear Behavioural Changes in Response to Sudden Fish Decline in an Interior Salmon System

Landlocked kokanee salmon are an important food source for grizzly bears in the Lardeau River Valley. A local bear-viewing company has been collecting citizen-science data on grizzly bear sightings since 2012. Following a catastrophic decline in kokanee numbers, bear activity in the valley has changed in space and time. In this study I combine kokanee enumeration data collected by the provincial government and bear sighting data collected by citizen scientists in order to evaluate the impacts of a changing salmon population on bear activity and behaviour. I found that, while grizzly bears have the dietary plasticity to change their habits in the short-term, their predator-prey relationship with salmon is important for continued success in the Lardeau River Valley. The results of this study are relevant given ongoing climate change and salmonid crashes within grizzly bear range.