Spirit Bear Lodge has made a firm commitment to supporting high level academic research as a way to preserve and protect the Spirit Bear legacy.The Kitasoo Xaixais have partnered with university researchers and several NGO's to pursue rigorous academic research which will help shed light on the Spirit Bear population dynamics in Kitasoo territory.
In recognition of the importance that the Spirit Bear plays in Kitasoo Xaixais culture, the Kitasoo recently formed a non-profit society - The Spirit Bear Research Foundation - to raise funds to help support high level academic research. Spirit Bear Lodge is a strong supporter of this foundation and in 2011 made a significant in-kind and cash donation to launch a baseline data collection research project. Working closely with researchers in the UK and here in BC in the 2011 field season, the Spirit Bear Research Foundation placed a series of remote, infrared cameras in key watersheds throughout the system to begin to collect information on the habits and movements of not only the Spirit Bear but other species as well.
Researchers have compiled an astounding data set of imagery capturing intimate and compelling photos of grizzly, Spirit Bears, wolves, cougars, wolverines, black bears and other mammals. These researchers have also begun a bear hair sampling project, capturing bear hair on passive hair snags and sending these samples off for DNA analysis.
Spirit Bear Lodge and the Spirit Bear Research Foundation were very pleased when one of our guests in 2011, David Vernon from Australia, made a very sizable and generous donation which allowed the Foundation to purchase 9 remote cameras. Mr Vernon made this donation in the name of his late wife Madeline Owen (at right) whose fervent wish it was to protect Spirit Bear habitat. In David's words: "The Spirit Bear was the only bear Madeline wanted to see as she was concerned about their numbers and habitat. We hope we can reduce her concerns."
We are very pleased to have placed these 9 'Maddy Cam's in the field in September 2011. Here are some images captured by our 'Maddy Cams':