Pictures of Roosevelt elk and grey wolves, not identified to be considerable in areas, had been captured through Metro Vancouver’s Wildlife Watch Program
Wildlife cameras put in within the Seymour and Coquitlam watersheds captured an abundance of animal exercise, together with some sightings that pleasantly shocked native environmental lovers.
Pictures depict black bears exploring with their cubs or curiously snow stakes, a bobcat trotting by leaves, and a cougar making its approach by recent snow. Nonetheless, it was the looks of a gang of elk, some arguing in entrance of the digital camera, others exhibiting moms and their younger, together with plenty of lone wolves, that basically received tongues wagging.
“Many of the species which might be normally captured on cameras are what we’d count on, like black-tailed deer, black bears, cats, wolves and cougars,” mentioned Kirstie Rendall, environmental administration supervisor for Metro Vancouver’s Water Companies.
“What we actually did not count on was massive numbers of elk being caught, and now we’re beginning to see wolves shifting into some places as properly.”
Prior to those sightings, proof of elk and wolves was restricted and largely anecdotal, she mentioned, so data of motion patterns or inhabitants numbers was scarce.
“We’ve now been in a position to establish a number of wildlife journey routes which might be continuously utilized by elk and different wildlife, together with predators equivalent to wolves,” she mentioned, including to the variety of these routes which are sometimes damaged service roads, now not in public use. thus a serious route for wandering species.
“Among the elk had been even caught on digital camera from the collar people, which signifies that they’re migrating to the world from the close by Indian River and Squamish space,” she mentioned.
“It was attention-grabbing to see, it was completely surprising.”
The digital camera program, organized by Metro Vancouver’s Division of Watershed and Surroundings, started in 2017 with a single digital camera at Capilano Reservoir, with the aim of getting a greater understanding of the species that stay within the space. This system has since grown to see two extra functions within the Seymour and Coquitlam areas.
With watersheds shielded from developments and the general public making certain that the water is of the best ingesting high quality for native residents, the areas act as de facto reserves for wildlife – a refuge from human disturbance in an in any other case city panorama.
The presence of those two species is indicative of a “wholesome setting,” Rendell mentioned, as each Roosevelt elk, a North American subspecies of elk, play an vital function in sustaining the ecosystem.
Whereas one, being one of many largest herbivores within the space, has created a variety of forest vegetation layers, the opposite controls the prey populations within the space.
“The existence of this thriving ecosystem is crucial to sustaining the clear and dependable provide of ingesting water for which Metro Vancouver is accountable,” she mentioned.
“For the reason that Europeans arrived right here, elk and wolf populations have been severely affected by the lack of our habitat and all our actions, so it is extremely good to see these populations rebound and our animals return to their historic house ranges.”
After these promising outcomes, Randel has nothing however excessive hopes for the long run, with the water companies staff crossing their fingers for the return of different once-dominant species.
“Grizzly bears are principally absent from southwest BC, and we’ve not had any identified sightings inside water provide areas for many years,” she mentioned.
“However just lately, there have been extra sightings up north, and we hope the bears will ultimately make their approach into the watershed and inhabit what was as soon as a part of their pure vary.”
Till then, Rendell mentioned watching the resurgence of wolves and elk, together with glimpses into the hidden lives of playful black bears, curious cougars and different wildlife that inhabit the three watersheds, is satisfying sufficient.
“There may be nothing extra helpful,” she mentioned.
Mina Kerr-Lazenby is the Indigenous and Citizen Affairs Correspondent for North Shore Information. This rhythm of reporting is made potential by Native Journalism Initiative.