Ecologist and wildlife guide

I am a naturalist first.

I explore nature and promote wildlife conservation through research, photography, writing, education, and wilderness expeditions.

I am also a guide and the Director of Wildlife Journeys, a wildlife tour company that leads trips in the Great Bear Rainforest focussing on wolves and spirit bears, in collaboration with Marven Robinson of the Gitga’at First Nation. We also lead polar bear photo tours in Churchill, Manitoba, and – new for 2021 – the ultimate Vancouver Island spring wildlife expedition.

Wildlife Journeys with Tim Irvin logo

Tours and expeditions

Spirit bearsA spirit bear scanning a creek for salmon in the Great Bear Rainforest

During these tours, we explore lush river valleys in search of spirit, or Kermode, bears in a place that National Geographic has called the “Wildest Place in North America.” Travelling with Marven Robinson of the Gitga’at First Nation, we will spend all of our time in the very heart of spirit bear territory seeking out these extraordinary and rare white bears.

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Coastal wolves
Coastal wolf lying on the sand with ocean in the background

In a world dominated by human landscapes, the wilderness of the Great Bear Rainforest is a refuge for wildlife, including the wolf. In the words of eminent scientist Dr. Paul Paquet, “the remote ocean archipelago of the Great Bear Rainforest comprises North America’s most unusual and one of its most pristine wolf populations.”  In this expedition-style trip we offer the extraordinary opportunity to photograph these wild coastal wolves.

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Polar bears

We have partnered with local experts in Churchill, Manitoba to offer an intimate ground-level polar bear photo tour in the polar bear capital of the world. On these tours, you will have the opportunity to photograph polar bears in a small group and at eye-level, rather than from way up high in a crowded tundra vehicle. This trip offers far more time searching for bears than typical tours in Churchill of similar length.

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Recent Posts

Ma'ah, a white bear, clambers over rocks by a stream of salmon.

Another season for Ma’ah

As the 2019 spirit bear season approached it seemed there was one question on everybody’s mind: would Ma’ah still be with us? Ma’ah is a white bear who is closing in on 20 years old. Her name is the Tsimshian word that local guiding legend, Marven Robinson, used for his own grandmother. Some say she is the matriarch of the ...
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A young coastal wolf standing on a beach in the Great Bear Rainforest

BC’s coastal wolves: elusive and worthy of protection

I worked as a guide in the Great Bear Rainforest for 14 years before I managed to get a decent photo of a coastal wolf. I had seen plenty of wolves – even entire packs – but mostly fleeting glimpses, and mostly from a distance. Once, I was lucky enough to watch a wolf chase a grizzly bear through an ...
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An elder female spirit bear eating a salmon near a waterfall in the Great Bear Rainforest

Great Bear Rainforest IMAX celebrates local First Nations

Three years is a long time to wait for anything. But finally (finally!) I was able to see the Great Bear Rainforest IMAX film. As I sat in the giant theatre the rest of the world slipped away while the cameras took me soaring over mountains, through the tangled beauty of the rainforest and into the sea with sea lions, ...
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One black and one coastal wolf patrolling the intertidal zone in the Great Bear Rainforest

Wolves are just wolves

I have read there have been more books written about wolves than any other species. There is something so compelling about them and, yet, they are also polarizing for people. Opinions about wolves are strong and varied. They are icons of wilderness, wildness and all things good. They are vicious killers, not to be trusted and must be controlled. It ...
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An American black bear half above and half below the water

Wildlife photography is full of failures, and that is okay

This is a photo of an American black bear checking out a remotely triggered camera in the Great Bear Rainforest. Thanks to Paul Nicklen for technical assistance with this one (i.e. teaching this buffoon the basics of how to use and maintain an underwater housing). There were many, many failures while trying to get this one shot. So many failures ...
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A spirit bear standing on a rock in the Great Bear Rainforest

Salmon, spirit bears and Ma’ah.

This is Ma’ah. Her name means grandmother in the language of the local Tsimshian First Nations language. She is perhaps 18 years old, and she is a really special bear. Not only did Ma'ah appear on the cover of National Geographic for Paul Nicklen's 2011 spirit bear story, but, somehow, being in her presence puts one at peace. It is ...
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