Monday, February 27, 2012

Protecting the Great Bear region

One of the remaining beautiful temperate rain forests of the world exists on the north coast of British Columbia, Canada. This area is often called the Great Bear region and is teaming with a vast variety animals in plants including the majestic black bears and grizzly bears. Canada has done well to keep the populations constant in many areas of their natural habitat. However this has not been without the determination of some individuals. Two decades ago, almost every valley of the Great Bear Rainforest was slated for clear cutting. After 15 years of conflict and negotiation, First Nations, forest companies, environmental organizations, and governments created a world-leading model of ecosystem management for the region. By combining conservation with better logging practices, they found a way to protect the environment and the economy.

However these region is under threat again. The ongoing troublesome Alberta tar sands project has already had reported negative impacts on the local environment in Alberta. Now a 1170km pipeline is being proposed to transport the tar sands oil to oil tankers on the BC coast. This pipeline will bisect the Great Bear region, running through rainforest, across hundreds of salmon streams (a key food source for many bears) to the currently peaceful coast.

The risk of destruction during the building of the pipeline plus the possibility of leaks once complete threatens this highly sensitive area. Not only is the land at risk but with up to 220 supersized oil tankers coming to collect the tar sands oil, the oceans of the Great Bear region are too. This coastal area is a peaceful and protected habitat for many whales, dolphins and porpoises. These animals rely on sound to communicate, navigate, and find food. Quiet waters are important for their health and survival. Ships in the area could affect these animals by increasing underwater noise.

What can you do?

The WWF Canada is working to ensure the optimum well being of all animals, plants and habitats in the area. You can read more about their work and support them by visiting Once again it is time to ensure our environment does not suffer at the hands of the economy. With proper management these can both prosper and ensure the children of tomorrow will still have the bears roaming these forests.

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