The goal of this project is to use research and management to begin recovery efforts of the small fragmented grizzly bear population in the south Purcell Mountains south of BC Highway 3. This transborder population is threatened in British Columbia (Hamilton et al. 2004) and the US (USFWS 1993) and is the southernmost part of the contracting North American distribution (Mattson and Merrill 2002; Fig. 1). The federal designation for the grizzly bear in Canada is special concern (COSEWIC ? Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada). Recent research suggests that this is a small (< 50 bears including the US portion, Proctor et al. 2007; Kasworm et al. 2006) declining population (-3.7%/year; Wakkinen and Kasworm 2004) experiencing limited female connectivity with adjacent populations resulting in an elevated conservation risk (Proctor et al. 2005a). This project is part of a larger coordinated effort by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the BC Ministry of Environment (MoE) for recovery of the south Purcell and south Selkirk populations. While the USFWS has been working on recovery efforts within the US for over a decade, the enhanced efforts within Canada began in 2004.
We, the Trans-border Grizzly Bear Project, use applied scientific research to focus on reducing human-caused mortality, enhancing and re-establishing inter-population connectivity, improving habitat security, and educating the public (Proctor et al. 2004). In working towards our goals, we have completed a spatially-explicit mortality analysis of the region and for the past 2 years have helped hired a Bear Aware specialist to reduce human-caused grizzly bear mortality due to bear-human conflict. We also produced a regional population estimate (Proctor et al. 2007) that has been accepted by the provincial government and has been used to set the Purcell Mt. hunting quotas. Our estimate has also resulted in a hunting closure for grizzly bear in the Wildlife Management Units 4-5 and 4-6, just north of BC Hwy 3 in the Purcell Mts. in an attempt to increase grizzly bear population size and improve linkage across Hwy 3.