Caribou Program Fieldwork 2021: The Jewel of the North

Solène Williams, Nikki Beaudoin, and Jesse Shirton After five refreshing days off, the caribou crew was ready to start their fourth adventure: the Slave Lake/Red Earth Creek shift. Once again, we did not know much about the roads or camping areas for this region. We were lucky enough to book the last two remaining sites at the Marten River Campground outside of Slave Lake and even luckier to share one of their sites with two…

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Caribou Program Fieldwork 2021: Muggy and Buggy

Solène Williams and Nikki Beaudoin For the third field shift The Boos loaded up their hammocks, fishing rods, bug jackets, and sunscreen and headed to the Chinchaga region of Alberta. Located a convenient 6 hours due north, the crew took up squatters rights at Running Lake Provincial Recreation Area. The area was new to all, even the seasoned crew leaders; Isaiah and Solène had never been dispatched to the Chinchaga area before. And so, busting…

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Caribou Program Fieldwork 2021: The Boos Beginning

By Solène Williams and Nikki Beaudoin What do you get when an angler, bird nerd, farmer, and a celiac all end up on a field crew? Two very exasperated returning field techs with their work cut out for them!The newcomers on the 2021 crew: Christian Louie, the young buck of the crew traveling from Sidney, BC and studying biology at UVic enjoys long walks on the beach with his fishing rod in hand. Jesse Shirton,…

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Caribou Program Fieldwork 2021: Meet the Crew

Back at it Again Here we are again, back in time for another field season. This summer we’re collecting and comparing vegetation data in a variety of different cut block and fire types all over northern Alberta. We want to see under which types of conditions important caribou foods grow best. What brings bounce to our step this year is that we have a full summer crew of 6 technicians back amongst our ranks despite…

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See How Road Densities Are Changing in Grizzly Bear Habitat

Open road density has been linked to grizzly bear morality risk in Alberta. Motorized road access developed for resource extraction increases human-bear conflict and impacts survival rates. Road densities (km/km2) < 0.6 in core and < 0.75 in secondary habitat are threshold indicators used for land management decisions aimed at supporting grizzly bear conservation. Alberta’s grizzly bear watershed units (gbwu) are conservation boundaries which are split into core and secondary habitat zones. Analyzing open road…

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Who’s Been Visiting the Cutblocks?

In 2018, field crews took to the gravel logging roads that thread through west-central Alberta and began setting up camera traps in cutblocks. The goal: document which animals visit cutblocks, and relate that to features in the cutblock. This will hopefully help the forestry industry design their cutblocks to be less favourable to prey species like moose, deer, and elk, thereby reducing the number of predators prowling caribou ranges. By September 2020, we had a…

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Be Part of the EBM Conversation

By Dr. John Wilmshurst   When Ed Grumbine published his paper “What is Ecosystem Based Management?” in 1994, he was not introducing a new idea, but describing a concept that had been discussed, and used, for centuries. This month, the Healthy Landscapes Program is contributing to that discussion by launching a new website, HealthyLandscapesEBM. In it, the HLP hopes to show that ecosystem based management (EBM) in the boreal forest is more than just talk.…

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Grizzly Bear Habitat Time Series

By Dan Wismer Alberta’s landscape is far from static, as each year natural and human disturbance changes characteristics in land and canopy cover. New wildfire events, road construction, forest harvesting and oil and gas activities open areas and reset the vegetation age, while older disturbed areas regenerate back to natural conditions. These constant changes play a major role in habitat quality, mortality risk and the overall habitat states of grizzly bears. % canopy cover captures…

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AOL: Animals On-Line

Dr. Lucy Poley has started a research project mining a trove of wildlife photos that the Caribou Program has been collecting since 2013. The pictures are all snapped automatically by hundreds of trail cameras spread out on seismic lines. Poley, a post doc at the University of Calgary, is trying to find out which species match up with different kinds of seismic lines. In order to drive seismic equipment for oil and gas exploration through…

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Picking Up What They Are Dropping Down: What We Can Learn from Grizzly Bear Scat

By Isobel Phoebus Have you ever come across some animal poop (i.e. scat) out in the wild and thought, “I wonder who that came from?” Well, it’s been a bit of a bumpy road, but now scientists can often find out. Not only can we tell who it came from, but when we start systematically collecting scat samples found all over a given area, we can estimate the population size of a particular species! Over…

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