Bears and Big News in the Great Bear Rainforest

The Great Bear Rainforest is a global treasure.  In keeping with this I bring you some highlights from the rainforest in three languages plus some really, REALLY big news.

In English, Rick Andrews  shares the story and photos from his first spirit bear encounter during our trip together this fall. In his beautifully written blog post Rick also explores the coastal ecosystems the white bear calls home, the close ties local First Nations have with this animal and the conservation challenges facing this spectacular region. See more of Rick’s photos on his Instagram page.

Rick Andrews photographing bears in the rain in the Great Bear Rainforest

Rick Andrews photographing spirit bears in the rain.

Or, if you prefer Italian, you can read Max Venturi’s account of his experiences with us in the Great Bear Rainforest. If your Italian is rusty, don’t worry; Max’s photos transcend language barriers. But, of course, you can always ask Google to translate it all for you.  Want more Max? He’s on Instagram too.

Max Venturi in the rainforest a spirit bear

Max Venturi enjoying a quiet moment with a spirit bear in the Great Bear Rainforest.

And in French, you can watch a great film about temperate rainforests by Francois-Xavier (Fix) De Ruydts and Damien Briguet. To make it happen, these guys bought themselves an ultra-light aircraft, a collapsible canoe, a pile of camera gear and lots of duct tape. Then they got to work, and after many adventures they pulled off their first hour-long documentary.

I was lucky enough to be their guide for a portion of the show. To get the grizzly bear footage they wanted we paddled around a coastal estuary, stomped down rainforest trails, sniffed at dead salmon and eventually managed to get some great video of bears chasing salmon. You can now watch their television special online.

Tim Irvin, Francois-Xavier De Ruydts and Damien Briguet with a video camera in the Great Bear Rainforest

A peek behind the scenes: Fix: What should we do now guys? Damien and Tim:  Uhh…we don’t know.  Fix: Hey, what happens if I push this button?       

But the really big news for the coast is that last week Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced that his government will not approve the Northern Gateway pipeline project. This project would have seen bitumen from Alberta’s tar sands shipped via oil tankers right through the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest and the traditional territory of the Gitga’at First Nation. This announcement is a major victory for the Gitga’at, other coastal First Nations, and everybody else who loves this spectacular coast. An oil spill here would have catastrophic consequences for the ecosystems and people here. Some things are simply too precious to put at risk.

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