VANCOUVER, April 24, 2018 – A report issued today by Grizzly Bear Foundation stresses the importance of food security to the long term survival of grizzly bears in British Columbia. This spring we celebrate first time since 2001 that the species is provincially protected from hunting. It’s now time to look beyond that issue and address the cumulative threats to the well being of the species, including safe access to critical food sources.
The report indicates two major factors of food security for grizzly bears:
Sufficient food quality and quantity is needed to drive sustainable reproduction, and
Quality food must be available, accessible, and free from threat.
Food security is a pressing issue for spring grizzlies as they attempt to rebuild their reserves after hibernation. Ongoing threats such as salmon stock decline, climate change, increased urbanization, and habitat fragmentation will impact quality, accessibility, and availability of critical food sources for the species.
Grizzly bear diet ranges according to region and topography. The majority of a BC grizzly’s diet is made up of berries (huckleberries in particular). Salmon is a critical food for coastal bears, and terrestrial meat (rodents, insects, ungulates) is also important to interior bears.
Food security is an important factor in grizzly bear reproduction; female grizzlies are particularly impacted if food supply is low or of poor quality. As delayed implanters, impregnation generally takes place in the spring, and embryonic development only occurs if the mother has enough fat to sustain both herself and her offspring prior to hibernation in the autumn.
“This report helps us to identify additional work required to safeguard grizzly bear food sources,” says Executive Director Nicholas Scapillati. “The grizzly is a keystone species at the top of the natural food chain, and any work done to secure its food sources will benefit a diversity of other species.”