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Living in Harmony: Exploring Human-Wildlife Coexistence

Our Human-Wildlife Coexistence Webinar Series is dedicated to fostering understanding and collaboration between researchers and the public. In an era where human-wildlife coexistence is both a challenge and an imperative, this series serves as a vital bridge. It unites the scientific community’s expertise with the public’s quest for knowledge, seeking to address the complexities and solutions inherent in sharing our world with diverse species.

Please register for both webinars using the links provided below.

  1. Badgers In Your Backyard – More Than Just Big Holes

November 2, 12:00 – 1:00 MST

For many, badgers remain an elusive grassland mammal known mainly for the big holes they leave behind. Their numerous big holes, or burrows, and associated burrow mounds, can be a concern for those living and working in these landscapes – often resulting their removal. What is lesser known is the essential role badgers play in maintaining the health of native prairie. As an animal that predominately predates on rodents, the badger contributes to regulating populations of species such as ground squirrels, voles and mice. In addition to their role as a keystone grassland predator, badgers create habitat for a diverse array of neighboring species, including over 27 different Species at Risk (i.e., burrowing owls). Digging of burrow networks has many benefits that extend beyond habitat creation such as enhancing vegetative diversity and soil structure, mitigating water infiltration, and improving nutrient cycling. As such, historic declines in badger populations has had a negative impact on the ecosystems in which the badger exists. Finding ways to coexist with badgers will result in many positive benefits to grassland ecosystems and the species that depend on them, both the four-legged and two-legged.

Presenter Bio: Nikki Heim, former President of the ACTWS, is a wildlife ecologist based in Canmore Alberta. Nikki has spent the past two decades focused on better understanding and conserving terrestrial carnivores. Nikki has researched population dynamics of medium to large-sized carnivores, from bears to badgers, and strives to work collaboratively to find applied solutions to improve human-wildlife coexistence.

2. Addressing Human Wildlife Coexistence – A Case Study From the Bow Valley, Alberta, Canada

November 9, 12:00 – 1:00 PM MST

Human-wildlife coexistence is rapidly emerging as a theme in wildlife conservation. The term “coexistence” refers to a state resulting from a suite of strategies that have successfully balanced the needs of wildlife and humans. These strategies include managing human use in designated wildlife habitats, excluding wildlife from developed areas, and mitigating negative human-wildlife interactions.

Following the 2017 management removal, and the subsequent death, of a well-known grizzly bear frequenting the Bow Valley between Canmore and Banff, a roundtable group was formed to address human-wildlife coexistence issues in the area.  A technical working group was also established, and they produced a report in 2018 (available at https://open.alberta.ca/publications/9781460140062) with 28 recommendations for addressing human-wildlife coexistence issues. These recommendations are grouped into six key themes:

Trans-boundary Management;
Wildlife in Developed Areas;
Habitat Security;
Food Conditioning and Habituation;
People Compliance; and
Wildlife Management.

In this presentation, we will discuss how the Human-Wildlife Coexistence Roundtable, the Technical Working Group, and the involved agencies and groups are tackling the challenges associated with implementing the recommendations outlined in the report. The work of the Human-Wildlife Coexistence Roundtable serves as a unique example of how agencies and communities can collaboratively identify and address a wide range of challenges associated with achieving human-wildlife coexistence.

Presenter Bio: John is the Human Wildlife Coexistence Team Lead for Alberta Forestry and Parks. He is a biologist with 30+ years experience working mainly with large carnivores like bears, wolves, cougars, coyotes and Amur tigers. Arriving in Canmore in 1992, John has an intimate knowledge of the local conservation successes and failures as the communities in the Bow Valley evolve, increasing the challenges in achieving Human-Wildlife Coexistence.

PO BOX 4990
Edmonton AB
T6E 5G8

Professional refers to someone who works with wildlife and/or their habitats in a professional setting.

In this context, it is not in reference to a legal professional designation.