Young grizzly bear saved by the joint efforts of First Nations and conservation officers on Hanson Island.

Collaborative approach to relocate the grizzly was applauded by the Minister of Environment calling it a ‘power of partnership’

A young male grizzly bear named Mali, who had an encounter with the residents of Hanson Island in B.C.’s Broughton Archipelago, has been safely relocated to a remote mainland habitat.

The grizzly bear’s safety was ensured by the joint efforts of First Nations, the Conservation Officer Service, local ecotourism operators, the Grizzly Bear Foundation and the Minister of Environment.

In a statement, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, George Heyman, praised the efforts of all involved, calling it “a demonstration of the power of partnership and the desire for reconciliation.”

He further stated that “Working together with Indigenous nations and local residents we have created an opportunity for this bear, and this iconic species, to continue to thrive in a wilderness habitat.”

It is suspected that Mali, named after one of the first Mamalilikulla, ancestors Malilakala, swam to Hanson Island from the B.C. mainland in search of food after waking up from his denning period. In a statement released by the Grizzly Bear Foundation, it is stated that “the grizzly’s incredible sense of smell, up to 100 times stronger than a human,” must have led him across this considerable distance in search of food after hibernation. “This time of year, bears go in search of sedge grass, mussels, and clams to fill their bellies.”

Conservation officers have been long warning residents not to leave out attractants and last year it was legally enforced by Section 33.1 of the B.C. Wildlife Act. It states that people must not leave or place attractants in or about any land or premises where there are likely to be people in a manner in which the attractant can attract dangerous wildlife to the land or premises and be accessible to dangerous wildlife.

READ MORE: No more warnings for Vancouver Islanders who leave out bear attractants

READ MORE: Vancouver Island’s bear patrol is watching your garbage

While Chief Conservation Officer, Doug Forsdick pointed out that grizzly bear encounters in Broughton Archipelago have increased in recent years, they were able to handle this particular situation well.

“We were very fortunate to achieve a positive outcome in what was quickly becoming a high risk scenario for this grizzly bear and individuals in the area,” said Fordsick.

Indigenous Guardian Jake Smith and Tim McGrady of Farewell Harbour Lodge, who was on-site supporting the conservation officers’ efforts, pointed out that had it not been for the well-planned efforts of everyone involved, “This situation could have easily ended up with the death of this grizzly bear.”

The success of the operation to save Mali was not just a logistical effort but for many of the First Nations people, it was also a “highly emotional one,” said Chief Richard Sumner of the Mamalilikulla Nation. “The killing of grizzly bears in our traditional territory is not an option,” which is why the whole operation of safely relocating the bear was “very satisfying” for them.

“Grizzly bears are important to our culture and the economics of the bear-viewing industry. We’re looking to build collaborative decision making with the BC Government on grizzly bear conservation in our territory,” said Mike Willie of Sea Wolf Adventures and a Hereditary Chief of the Kwikwasutinuxw Nation

Over the years grizzly bears have become a keystone species in the umbrella of conservation for other species as well. Therefore collaborative efforts such as the one displayed in relocating Mali are extremely important to set an example of positive outcomes for future conservation efforts. “When we protect grizzly bears, we protect so much more,” said Nicholas Scapillati, Executive Director of the Grizzly Bear Foundation.

ConservationEnvironmentFirst Nations

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Bill C-283 would establish a National Food Waste Awareness Day. File photo
Anti-Food Waste bill introduced by North Island-Powell River MP

Bill would establish awareness day, ask Minister of Agriculture to work towards ending food waste

This 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 was stolen from Black Creek Motors at approximately 2 a.m. Sunday, April 11. Photos via blackcreekmotors.com
VIDEO: Thieves steal truck from Black Creek car lot by towing it away

Have you seen a 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 in your neighbourhood in… Continue reading

Police pup in training: Nugget. RCMP photo
Police Service Dog Nugget gets golden opportunity to learn with veteran Gator

Newest recruit to train with Campbell River RCMP service dog and handler

Campbell River RCMP. RCMP photo
Man arrested after firearm pointing incident on Campbell River street

Campbell River RCMP have arrested a local man following a firearms pointing… Continue reading

FILE - This Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015, file photo shows the dashboard of the Tesla Model X car, at the company's headquarters in Fremont, Calif. Newer cars that connect to the internet are capable of collecting vast amounts of data about their drivers. Tesla Motors has used data to reveal, sometimes within hours of a crash, how fast the driver was going and whether or not the company’s semi-autonomous Autopilot system was engaged. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
Test of vehicle’s self drive features results in being mistaken for impaired driving

Campbell River RCMP warn busy roadway no place to check out a vehicle’s new features

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Two men were seen removing red dresses alongside the Island Highway in Oyster Bay. (Submitted photo)
Two men filmed removing red dresses from trees on highway near Ladysmith

Activists hung the dresses to raise awareness for Vancouver Island’s Murdered/Missing Women & Girls

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

RCMP on scene yesterday at the altercation at the trailer park. (Submitted photo)
Violent altercation at Port Hardy trailer park sends one to hospital

Police say man confronted another over airsoft shooting, then was attacked with a weapon

John Albert Buchanan was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2017 death of Richard Sitar. Pictured here, Buchanan walking to the court in Nanaimo last year. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Six years including time served for Nanaimo man in bludgeoning death

John Albert Buchanan sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo for death of Richard Sitar

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Most Read