Study shows black bears need a va­ri­ety of salmon species to be healthy

The Niagara Falls Review - - Canada & World - HINA ALAM

VAN­COU­VER — Black bears need ac­cess to dif­fer­ent species of salmon rather than huge num­bers of a sin­gle va­ri­ety in or­der to be healthy, a new study by Cana­dian re­searchers in­di­cates.

Lead au­thor Christina Ser­vice said if bears have ac­cess to a “port­fo­lio of dif­fer­ent salmon species,” then the an­i­mals have ac­cess to more food for a greater part of the year.

“It is the equiv­a­lent of hu­mans go­ing to an all-you-can-eat buf­fet for just a cou­ple of days ver­sus hav­ing one good meal a day for many months,” said the PhD can­di­date from the Univer­sity of Vic­to­ria, adding that dif­fer­ent species of the fish have dif­fer­ent run tim­ings and use dif­fer­ent habi­tat.

When they have ac­cess to the fish for a larger part of the year, they end up eat­ing more salmon over­all and are in bet­ter health, she said.

The team of re­searchers used chem­i­cal tech­niques on hair sam­ples from 379 black bears and 122 griz­zly bears be­tween 2009 and 2014 to es­ti­mate their salmon con­sump­tion, which showed pop­u­la­tion pro­duc­tiv­ity and health.

They stud­ied an­i­mals across a 22,000-kilo­me­tre stretch along coastal British Columbia’s “Great Bear Rain­for­est,” in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Wuik­in­uxv, Nux­alk, Heilt­suk and Ki­ta­soo/ Xai’xais First Na­tions.

With bears hi­ber­nat­ing in win­ter, they have only cer­tain win­dows where they’re able to eat, Ser­vice said.

So, by hav­ing ac­cess to salmon ear­lier in the year bears can start fat­ten­ing up sooner, she said.

Ki­ta­soo/Xai’xais First Na­tion chief coun­cil­lor and study col­lab­o­ra­tor Dou­glas Neasloss said he is con­cerned that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s cur­rent salmon man­age­ment fo­cuses on large salmon runs and of­ten ig­nores smaller runs that con­trib­ute to di­ver­sity.

Ser­vice said the fed­eral gov­ern­ment should think about the man­age­ment of fish­eries in a holis­tic sense.

“We need to con­sider species di­ver­sity and not just abun­dance.”

APRIL BENCZE THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

By hav­ing ac­cess to salmon ear­lier, bears can start fat­ten­ing up sooner.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.