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Like a bear up a tree
By Sylvia Dolson, Whistler Question, Novermber 29, 2012
Another perspective from the nose of the bear. This story, as told by Re-Pete the bear, explores the ursine precepetion of bear managment by people. Read the story here.
An ursine perspective
By Sylvia Dolson, Whistler Question, Novermber 15, 2012
A fun look at a bear's life from his own eyes. How do bears navigate the world and what is important to them? Read more here.
Order to remove mountain ash berries raises ire of resident
by Alison Taylor, Pique Newsmagazine, November 8, 2012
The bio mass of mountain ash trees at this particular property was tremendous. This volume of food is a huge attractant for bears during the fall when virtually all other natural foods are depleted. As a result, it brings bears into conflict with residents creating safety concerns for people and the potential for destruction of bears. It's important to understand that whether the attractant is a natural food, like landscaped berry plants, or non-natural, like garbage, the effect is the same - bears don't distinguish food by its source. The Get Bear Smart Society had been working with 19 Mile Creek strata for three years to contain berry producing attractants with no success. Finally, an order was issued by the Conservation Officer Service, and then subsequently extended, to allow the strata to contain the attractant. They have now complied. Read the story here.
Drawing the line with human attractants
by Sylvia Dolson, Whistler Question, November 1, 2012
Understanding the drive and motivation of bears who are trying to fatten up for five months without food in the den. A story from a different perspective that might help explain why bears are so persistent at this time of year. Read the story here.
Bear deaths down over last year
by Tanya Foubert, Whistler Question, November 1, 2012
High bear mortality in recent years has had a definite effect, not only on the bear population, but also on the number of conflicts between people and bears and the number of bears killed in 2012 as a result. It's important to remember that what ever you do to draw a bear into a peopled area has an impact -whether it's an empty coffee cup in your car, or a birdfeeder or mountain ash tree in your yard. The lesson you teach the bear can not be unlearned; and the bear's behaviour almost always becomes more persistent. Read the story here.
Get Bear Smart
A heartfelt plea from a long time local whose been following the life story of Whistler's most iconic bear, Jeanie, for almost two decades. Read the letter here.
Compassion in action – Do it for Jeanie!
One year ago, on October 20th, Whistler’s great matriarchal bear, Jeanie, was killed as a result of preventable conflict with people. She has not been forgotten. She has hundreds of friends on Facebook, not just from Whistler, but from all over the world; and her page – Friends of Jeanie the Bear – continues to gain new “likes” every day.
Messages about Jeanie and well wishes for her daughter, Jeanette, pour in regularly. Cynthia writes “I only met Jeanie once, but I miss her greatly.” “Never forgotten, [heart] Jeanie the Bear” posts, Lynn. Sky wonders “how Jeanette is doing, too, and hopes she will have eaten enough for winter.” Emma wrote: "Can't believe it's been a year already. Jeanette is running amuck in the woods for the two of them :)( Hope everyone learns from their mistakes. Jeanie: what an amazing bear."
Read the rest of the story here
There are more than a few documentaries that feature our beautiful bear and her various offspring over the years.
Her photos hang in many homes; are featured on greeting cards and postcards; and have been included in Get Bear Smart’s playing cards – 52 Tips for Staying Safe in Bear Country.
How did one bear reach such an iconic presence? Jeanie had an incredibly tolerant nature that didn’t frighten people. As a resident of the north face of Whistler Mountain, her home range was front and centre. Amidst a busy bike park, Jeanie and her offspring had to learn to endure various forms of recreational activities in their habitat. You see, females rarely leave their natal home range, even when attempts are made to relocate them hundreds of miles away. So, while we might have thought, she had the option to get of Dodge, it really wasn’t programmed into her DNA. She did the best she could, given her circumstances - running off coyotes, who sometimes killed her cubs, and chasing off male suitors who kill cubs to bring the female back into estrus for the purpose of mating.
Jeanie was easy to recognize, with her chocolate brown coat and cinnamon highlights that glistened in the sun. She had a distinctive swath of white fur across her chest, mottled with darker blotches. And the markings on her face almost made her look as though she was wearing old-fashioned spectacles.
On Jeanie’s forays into Whistler Village, she would often come into conflict with people. Her last outings in the fall of 2011 were some of the most dangerous for Jeanie and Jeanette. While she didn’t stray far from her home range, the smells wafting from hillside restaurants were too alluring for her to ignore. Natural foods had run out and she had a cub to feed. That fall would be the last time she ventured into town.
A mother’s devotion to her offspring is powerful and Jeanie took her job very seriously. In the years when Jeanie was without cubs, she never ventured into town. It was only her unrelenting desire to raise well-fed, healthy offspring that got her into trouble. Once researchers recognized this pattern, it was suggested that Jeanie be given a dose of birth control. But that idea, even though it likely would have kept her out of town and possibly saved her life, was met head-on with fierce objection, both from the Ministry of Environment and the general public. Jeanie’s predicament became front page news and the headline story on national TV.
A bear’s existence can be brutal, but Jeanie always carried on, accepting both life’s tragedies and its gifts. Her gift to us was to share her life so that we could learn from the challenges she faced. And when you know better, you do better. Right?
I have devoted my life to helping bears and people coexist. What one small action can you take to help? You can help spread the bear smart word. You can take in your bird feeder, you can watch for wildlife on the roads. You can and must do your part. Do it for Jeanie!
Sylvia Dolson is the executive director of the Get Bear Smart Society, aspiring photographer and advocate for animals. Her ultimate vision is for a greater coexistence. She looks forward to the day when it’s just accepted and common place that the welfare and lives of animals are given equal consideration
Jeanie and the photographer who called her a friend
A beautiful story about a beautiful bear and an inter-species relationship with a local Whistler photograph and animal welfare advocate. Read the story here.