Clyde Tallio explaining the cultural significance of Nan (grizzly bear) and T'la (black bear)

Clyde Tallio explaining the cultural significance of Nan (grizzly bear) and T'la (black bear)

Nuxalk Nation hosts informative Nan (Grizzly) and T’la (Black) Bear Day

The Nuxalk Nation hosted an informative Nan (Grizzly Bear) and T’la (Black Bear) Day at the Nuxalk Hall last week.

The Nuxalk Nation hosted an informative Nan (Grizzly Bear) and T’la (Black Bear) Day at the Nuxalk Hall last week.

“It’s a chance for people to come and ask questions and find out information,” said organizer Megan Moody, Nuxalk Stewardship Director. “We brought together a variety of different organizations and we’ve also got several presenters.”

Present at the meeting were the Nuxalk Bear Safety Group, the biologists and researchers of the Nuxalk Bear Study, Clyde Tallio and Iris Siwallace of the Nuxalk Indigenous Law Project, Sgt. Len Butler of the Conservation Officer Service, Fraser Koroluk of WildSafe BC, and Chief Councillor Douglas Neasloss of the Kitasoo/Xai’Xais.

“It’s been going really well this year,” said Jason Moody of the Nuxalk Bear Safety Group. “We keep a log book of every incident we respond to, and there are a lot more salmon in the creeks this year so conflicts are much lower than this time last year.”

Moody explained that his crew has been working consistently to reduce conflict by brushing out excess brush, redesigning fish processing areas, cleaning up discarded fish waste, installing electric fences and responding to any reports of problems immediately.

“We’re getting out there and offering our support and talking to people,” he said. “We’re also closely monitoring bear activity so we can keep the community informed if there is a bear in the area.”

Moody said the the response has been very positive, with many people taking on redesigning their fish processing areas to reduce negative interactions, and that the COS has been very supportive of their proactive approach.

Clyde Tallio and Iris Siwallace also offered some unique cultural perspective on the traditional knowledge of the Nan and T’la through their Indigenous Law Project.

“It’s fascinating, I am learning so much,” Siwallace shared. A Nuxalk speaker from birth, Siwallace has previously worked at Acwsalcta School and with many cultural programs in the community. She said both her and Tallio are thoroughly enjoying their new positions, frequently uncovering and categorizing exciting cultural knowledge.

A thorough explanation was also given of the Nuxalk Bear Study. Modeling itself after several similar studies on the Central Coast, the Nuxalk Bear Study uses a non-rewarding attractant to lure bears into a barbed wire perimeter. The bears then leave behind a hair sample which the researchers collect and analyze for data.

Last year was the first complete year of the study, and yielded information on population numbers, health, and genetic analysis.

Ron Schooner and Quentin Hans, both members of the Nuxalk Bear Safety Group and the Nuxalk Bear Study, explained that the study is important to understanding bear behaviour and population numbers on Nuxalk Territory.

“The DNA left behind on the hair can tell us quite a bit,” Schooner explained in his presentation. “We also have remote cameras at the sites which capture their movements and behaviour.”

Heather Bryan, a biologist with the University of Victoria and Raincoast Conservation Foundation, told the crowd about the exciting discoveries she and her team have made through the hair sampling studies on the Central Coast. Bryan says the 2013 study found bears that consume lower amounts of salmon have higher levels of cortisol, which may be a bad thing.

“Salmon declines contribute to higher levels of stress,” Bryan explained. “This can affect bear health in a variety of different ways, such as nutritional and social processes, and this can have long-term implications.”

Bryan also said that with the addition of the Nuxalk Bear Study in the Bella Coola area, the total sample area has jumped to 20,000 square kilometres, or the equivalent of a small country such as El Salvador.

“The Central Coast area is now being monitored by five coastal nations,” said Bryan. “This is providing some of the information you need to stand up and affect change in your territory.”

Kyle Artelle, a biologist working in Bella Bella, also provided information on bear-human conflict in the Bella Coola Valley, which indicates that conflicts rise in direct correlation with low salmon years.

A graph mapping years of study of conflict in relation to salmon abundance showed a clear rise in conflict sine the early 2000’s, as spawning salmon numbers have dropped fairly consistently since then.

“The evidence points to a direct correlation to increased conflict during low salmon years, not a higher number of bears,” said Artelle. “In fact there are probably less bears, as there are less salmon, but these bears are taking higher risks to obtain food due to lack of salmon in the creeks.”

The Nuxalk Bear Study now joins the monitoring efforts of the Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/XaiXais, Wuikinuvx, and the Gitga’at.

The day also included question and answer sessions with the COS and cultural sharing of songs and stories related to the Nan and T’la.

 

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

Just Posted

Residents line up socially distanced at the Seedy Saturday event, held at the Lobelco Hall parking lot from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 3 with strict COVID-19 restrictions and precautions in place. (Nicole Kaechele photo)
Seedlings, plants and seeds offered at Seedy Saturday

“It was a fairly good turnout,” noted Elizabeth Howard

The Bella Coola Valley Arts Council (BCVAC) has recently received two awards totaling $40,000 from the province-wide British Columbia Arts Council, part of the StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan. The grants are to be used to stimulate local arts communities and to help them cope with impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo submitted)
Bella Coola Valley Arts Council receives $40,000 for local projects

The grants will be used to stimulte local arts communities and help them cope with the pandemic

Cinematographer Louvens Remy recording Nuxalk Sputc Crew technician Scmlh (Jason Moody) driving a speed boat for sputc plankton sampling in the Bella Coola estuary. (Photo submitted)
Documentary to highlight importance of sputc

Sputc: We Shall Eat When the River is Full is a cinematic tale of wealth, loss and recovery

Carver Ken Sheen had almost finished work on a large cowboy carving commissioned by the City of Williams Lake to replace the original overlooking the Stampede Grounds when fire broke out Friday, April 18 at his property between Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Pine River Carving Facebook photos)
Nearly completed cow boss statue commissioned by City of Williams Lake lost to fire

Carver Ken Sheen lost the statue, all his tools and his shop in the blaze

Spring flooding is causing damage at Tl’etinqox First Nation west of Williams Lake. (Isidore Harry photo)
UPDATE: Spring freshet causes road damage at Tl’etinqox First Nation

Other damaged sections of Highway 20 are also under repairs

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Most Read