Narrated by Peter Mannering.
The grizzly bear, like the African lion, or the Bengal tiger, presents a life and death challenge. But it’s not people that are in danger, it’s the grizzly. To feed it’s half tonne frame the grizzly roams the bountiful wilderness from alpine ridges to the edge of the Pacific. It carries with it a mental map, of every berry patch, of every salmon stream, of every mountain trail. The map of a male grizzly can cover a natural landscape one hundred and fifty miles square. But what happens to the grizzly in the age of a vanishing wilderness?
Until 300 years ago the people of North America shared the land with the grizzly bear. Respect for the king of the wild resonated through their culture. That was a time when the grizzly kingdom extended from the Western plains to the Pacific shore. From Mexico to Alaska. But the frontiersman was bent on taming the wilderness. Over 100 thousand grizzly bears once roamed the wild country south of the Canadian boarder today the number is less than 900.
The lesson is painfully simple. Wherever humans make inroads into the wilderness, the grizzly disappears. Today the grizzly’s last place of refuge is Alaska and the Canadian northwest. The Grizzly and early man migrated together from Asia to North America, man still survives, but these grizzly cubs are being born into a dying race.
To survive, the grizzly requires wilderness that is secure for all time. Three sanctuaries for grizzlies have been set-aside in the Alaskan wilderness. Canada, home to roughly half the continent’s grizzlies has no grizzly bear sanctuary.
This British Columbia coastal valley is the richest grizzly bear habitat in Canada. Called the Khutzeymateen, it could become Canada’s first grizzly bear sanctuary. From the estuary teaming with new life, to the supreme creatures of the land and sky, the Khutzeymateen cradles a timeless world of natural wonder.
Here people can view grizzlies in safety without disturbing the animals. The very world, Khutzeymateen, is a native term, meaning a special place of fish and bear. An ancient sitka spruce rainforest dominates the narrow valley. The valley floor is rich in bear foods. Over the centuries, generations of Khutzeymateen grizzlies literally have followed in one another’s footsteps. A grizzly bear sanctuary has been proposed for the entire Khutzeymateen watershed it would enshrine for all time the ancient trilogy of grizzly bear, coastal rainforest, and salmon.
Lying within a large wilderness tract already closed to wilderness hunting, the Khutzeymateen is not off limits to logging. And logging would devastate this special place of fish and bear. The rare and magnificent Khutzeymateen rainforest deserves to remain enact. It’s grizzly bears deserve to roam free. Canada’s grizzlies need sanctuary, extended wilderness areas that are theirs alone. Saving the Khutzeymateen is where is starts. Saving the grizzly is where it ends.