After a long winter of classes and computer work at UVic, we arrived at last in Klemtu at 5am on Saturday, excited to get on the water and explore Kitasoo/Xai’xais Territory. Christina, the project lead, and I will spend the next few months here with the rest of our team from the community setting up and monitoring non-invasive bear hair snag stations.
Lured into our barbed wire corrals by novel scents such as vanilla, liquid smoke, and anise, bears soon realize there is no food to be had and leave, but often unwittingly leave behind a small tuft of hair on the barbed wire. This hair holds a great deal of important information that will help to answer a number of questions in which communities and academics alike are interested. This project is one of a growing network of projects that our lab is working on along the Central Coast, in partnership with the Kitasoo/Xai’xais, Heiltsuk, Wuikinuxv and Nuxalk Nations.
Before this adventure commences, however, we have a busy week of field preparations to see to. While our Skipper Brandon prepares the boat for the season to come, Christina, Krista, and I sterilize old barbed wire rolls and cut new ones, assemble map books, and check that remote cameras are powered up and ready to go. We also get to share a meal with the rest of our team, whom I look forward to getting to know.
*Cover photo by Brandon Robinson.