One of the first things Steven Hodgson noticed was Jordan Carbery’s slippers lying side-by-side on the path, as if he’d just stepped out of them. Then he spotted a bloody chunk of his scalp, and half his right ear.
Mr. Hodgson, a provincial conservation officer whose duties include dealing with problem animals, was at the scene of a harrowing grizzly bear attack that took place just steps from the front door of Mr. Carbery’s home.
In the past, the mauling would have meant an automatic death sentence for the sow and her cubs. But in the Bella Coola Valley on Canada’s west coast, where precipitous mountains plunge down to its namesake salmon river and where people have cleared land in the rain forest to grow lush gardens, the lines that for centuries have divided two apex predators — bears and humans — have blurred.
Mr. Hodgson, who arrived within an hour of the attack, came with an open mind and took in the scene: the scuff marks where the grizzly dug her enormous paws into the ground as she accelerated; the blood splatters around the body parts; the camera lying in the dirt where it fell.
Mr. Carbery, a park ranger, had stepped outside his home at sunrise last July 3 to take photos of bears foraging in a cherry tree. Then he spotted their mother charging him, the fur on the hump on her shoulders bristling in alarm, and he made his second mistake of the day. He ran. She had him in a moment.
In the Bella Coola Valley, and throughout British Columbia, there has been a shift in recent years in the way bear-human conflict is managed. Trophy hunting in the province, which claimed about 300 bears a year, was banned in 2017. Conservation officers no longer routinely kill bears involved in altercations with humans. And residents are being instructed by the provincial government to manage “attractants” like orchards, gardens, beehives, chicken coops, sheep paddocks and barbecues as carefully as they manage garbage.
After centuries of being in retreat from humans, things are looking up for Ursus arctos horribilis in Western Canada, where the grizzly bear, long a symbol of the untamed wilderness, now embodies a fight over how far society should go in the pursuit of responsible environmental stewardship. It offers a snapshot of the broader dilemma facing the planet, as detailed in a stark United Nations report issued this week describing how humans are altering the natural world at an unprecedented pace, a consequence of habitat loss, hunting, over-exploitation, climate change, pollution and invasive species. The report called for “transformative change” in every aspect of how people interact with nature.
British Columbia, with an estimated 15,000 grizzlies, is home to more than half of the grizzlies in Canada. Coexistence, not control, has become the goal in the province, where the grizzly is increasingly seen not just as a fierce carnivore but also as an intelligent, often gentle and misunderstood creature that just happens to be one of the largest predators on the continent.
But what does coexistence actually look like on the ground? Can people share landscapes and their properties with bears that can top 1,000 pounds and have four-inch claws? And where do the rights of bears to forage end, and the rights of humans to kill bears begin? Can we humans overcome deep-seated fears, and resist the urge to dominate and destroy?
Perhaps nowhere is the issue more intense than in the Bella Coola Valley, which lies within the Great Bear Rainforest and is home to about 2,000 people. It contains one of the highest densities of these bears near any human population. People can, and often do, look out of their kitchen windows to see three or four grizzlies sauntering around their yards. Sometimes, an eight-foot-tall grizzly up on its hind legs will be peering back at them. Other times, the click, click, click of grizzly claws on the porch wakes them in the night.
The Bella Coola Valley is a 14-hour drive north over the mountains from Vancouver. A two-lane paved highway gives way to gravel on a high plateau before the road makes a vertigo-inducing descent into the deep coastal valley. Jagged mountains, granite walls and avalanche chutes plunge to creeks and rivers where, in good years, more than one million salmon spawn. Waterfalls cascade from glaciers into a tangled forest of cedar, spruce and hemlock where old giant trees can measure 10 feet across.
The Nuxalk people have lived here for thousands of years, their stories, traditions and art alive with images of grizzlies. The first white settlers, Norwegians, arrived in the late 1800s and started clearing land in the 50-mile-long valley. It’s said that farmers used to brag about killing every grizzly they saw. But the valley and its surrounding mountains, cloaked in thick forest, are so rugged and biologically rich that the bears persisted.
With tighter restrictions on the shooting of what are perceived as “problem” bears, a rise in the number of camera-armed tourists who may be habituating bears to humans and a drop last year in the coho salmon run, a vital food source, residents say more grizzlies wandered out of the forest without fear of people. Mr. Hodgson called the number “unprecedented.” The result was an extraordinary and uneasy experiment in coexistence that continues.
Many residents say they have never seen so many bears, and the government estimates some 60 grizzlies are roaming the Bella Coola Valley. That’s about one grizzly for every 33 people. You see them in the rivers scooping up salmon, in backyards devouring fruit, on roads stopping traffic and even on the town’s small landing strip, where the airport staff has been known to chase them away from near the runway.
While some people are unnerved, Barry and Lorna Layton enjoy monitoring the action with a game camera, which has captured dozens of ghostly night images of grizzly bears crossing their lawn feet from their garage door.
The bears like to vacuum up carrots and parsnips from local gardens. “They’re hungry and not really doing any harm,” Mrs. Layton said last fall, standing in her yard while her husband hammered boards on a fence that looked like it had been hit by a truck. “Seems the bear tried to climb over,” he said with a shrug.
The Layton home is near the center of the village of Bella Coola. A few blocks away James Hans, a member of the Nuxalk Nation, said grizzlies are often in town but rarely cause trouble. When they do, it’s usually old, injured boars like the one a neighbor shot after it got into his smokehouse. Mr. Hans, a former grizzly hunting guide, made a necklace from its great claws.
Forty miles up the valley from Bella Coola, in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, tourists come from around the world to hunt grizzlies with cameras. A key location is on the Atnarko River, where tourists hope to get images of bears sloshing through the water after salmon.
At Tweedsmuir Park Lodge, while guests were relaxing over lunch one day last fall, a sow and two cubs casually walked out on the green grass. “Bears!” someone called and guests abandoned their coffee to rush outside. As cameras clicked, the sow nuzzled her cubs, which rolled on the grass seemingly unfazed by the bear paparazzi on the other side of an electric fence.
“We grow up hearing scary stories about bears, but once you spend time observing them you see that they are peaceful, gentle animals with a range of personalities and emotions no different than us,” Ellie Lamb, a guide at the lodge, explained.
While that narrative may be comforting, it doesn’t tell the full story. The image of bears is changing, but they still live in a brutal world. Male grizzlies, for example, will kill cubs simply to bring the mother bear into estrus. One large boar, known as Bent Ear, a few years ago attacked and killed a cub on the lodge’s lawn in front of horrified onlookers. “He kept throwing the cub around, taunting the sow to come back with her other cub,” said Mr. Hodgson. Some bear watchers felt Bent Ear was dangerous, but an investigation concluded he “was doing what bears do in the wild” and should be left alone.
It’s one thing for tourists on “safari” at a luxury lodge to commune with the bruins. It’s quite another for locals to encounter them outside the park. Valley residents see them in their yards, on village streets and shortcutting between houses. Sightings create “bear jams.” Teachers are advised to look outside before letting children out to play. Piles of fresh bear scat litter roads and trails.
Some people love the closeness of the bears. Others find it frightening and the new bear-friendly policy frustrating.
“There is no coexistence with grizzlies,” said Pierre Lebouder, sitting at his dining room table as he vividly described how grizzlies — one with a monstrous head and that “must have been close to 12 feet tall” — traumatized his dogs, ate his chickens and killed some of his sheep.
He keeps guns near his back door and he and his wife, a local doctor, have installed an electric wire fence, turning their bucolic farmstead into a compound. “Inside the wire everything is fine, but outside the wire I’m more nervous than ever,” Mr. Lebouder said.
Mr. Hodgson, the conservation officer, said that grizzly bears rarely attack humans. (The last time a grizzly killed a person in British Columbia was in 2005.)
“I’m way more afraid of dogs,” he told me on a tour of the valley, looking invincible in his conservation officer uniform that includes body armor, a Glock handgun, a baton and pepper spray. His work brings him into frequent contact with grizzlies, and he has this advice for close encounters: “Talk quietly and slowly. Don’t run. And don’t stare them in the eye.”
Mr. Hodgson might apply the same advice to dealing with people in the valley who are angry at the government for changing the rules of engagement. They complain that tourists are habituating bears to humans, and that poor forestry and fish management has left the bears hungry and brought them into town.
“I think this is a big experiment here,” said Ryan Parr, an education assistant at a local school, recalling how, when shooting bears was common, they ran if they saw people. He is active on a Facebook group, where residents post bear sightings and vent frustration at not being able to put “arrogant” grizzlies in their place.
“They (conservation officers) just come and tell you to cut down your trees, dig your garden and stay out of their way, one even told a friend “you can move away!” read one post.
British Columbians are still allowed to defend life and property, but they are required to report and justify every bear they kill or wound. They can be fined for improperly managing garbage, fruit trees, pet food, fish and other attractants.
When Mr. Hodgson investigates complaints about “bad bears,” he often finds that human behavior is the real problem. “People hate that, they hate hearing, ‘Look at yourself,’” he said. But he feels the message is slowly getting through that fruit needs to be picked, electric fences installed and sight lines cleared.
“Killing bears is really easy, it doesn’t take a lot, but then what about the next one and the next one?” said Mr. Hodgson.
Grizzlies gravitate to the natural banquet laid out in the Bella Coola Valley. The bears root for sedges and skunk cabbage in the estuary in front of the village. They climb into the alpine to harvest berries and, starting in midsummer, they congregate along the valley’s creeks and rivers to fish when the salmon run. And as the bears range up and down the valley, they help themselves to the apples, plums and livestock that people have added to menu. Bears can gain 200 to 300 pounds before heading to dens to hibernate in November.
Most Nuxalk say it is wrong to vilify grizzlies. “As our elders say: ‘We are in the bears’ home and we need to be respectful guests,’” said Clyde Tallio, a cultural steward for the Nuxalk Nation. Living together with bears requires, among other things, that humans make sure there are enough fish in the river to sustain the bears. The Nuxalk are working with researchers to determine how widely grizzlies in the valley travel and what impacts fishing, logging and eco-tourism have on their behavior.
If coexistence can work in Bella Coola, it should be able to work anywhere. But the challenge is daunting.
“My hair is getting whiter and whiter,” said Irene Buchanan, after a grizzly sow and her cubs cleaned the apples off a McIntosh tree beside her porch one morning last September. The bears did not touch the Red Delicious, which were not yet ripe. “They’ll be back,” Mr. Hodgson told her as he tried to restore power to electric wires strung around some of Ms. Buchanan’s fruit trees. Not all the trees were protected, as the bears had figured out.
As Mr. Hodgson turned to leave, it was clear he was worried about Ms. Buchanan and her brother, Robert, who don’t have the means to fence off their property to protect against the grizzlies that have been coming out of the forest to feed on their fruit and fish in their stream.
“It’s frustrating,” Mr. Hodgson said, noting how resources to help people cope with bears can be difficult to find. He has been trying for more than a year to secure funding to pay for an electric fence around the Buchanans’ house and garden.
Fencing could also go a long way in deterring the grizzlies that frequent the overgrown property where Jordan Carbery was mauled in July. Mr. Carbery returned to work as a park ranger after taking two months off to recover.
Standing in front of his house, Mr. Carbery lightly traced his hands over the scars that snake across his skin where the bear sank her teeth and claws into him. He removed his baseball hat to reveal where his hair has been torn off, leaving an angry red scar above the remains of his right ear.
After the bear dropped him and he got inside his house, he realized that, with no cellphone service, his only chance to survive his wounds was to find help. Limping to his car, he jumped in just as the sow charged again.
With a wide gash across his abdomen, deep puncture wounds on his buttocks, legs and shoulder and with blood pouring down his face, Mr. Carbery said he talked to himself as he drove to the hospital about 10 minutes away to keep from passing out.
“I am so happy to be alive,” he said.
He’s also relieved the mother bear and her dependent cubs weren’t shot and blames himself for the encounter, saying he shouldn’t have wandered out to take pictures and assumed he was safe, just because he was at home.
“You’ve got to be on your guard in grizz country — all the time,” he said.
It is the reality of coexistence in the Bella Coola Valley. The bears are at home, and people must learn to adapt.
Margaret Munro is a journalist who writes about science and the environment and lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook, Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram.
高清跑狗图493000【韦】【萧】【扔】【了】【手】【机】，【不】【想】【再】【去】【看】【夏】【萘】【的】【消】【息】，【拿】【起】【衣】【物】【径】【直】【去】【了】【浴】【室】。 【夏】【萘】【挂】【了】【电】【话】【之】【后】，【又】【给】【保】【安】【室】【那】【边】【打】【了】【电】【话】【确】【认】，【在】【知】【道】【齐】【诗】【雨】【后】【面】【又】【进】【了】506【时】，【这】【才】【放】【下】【心】【来】。 【保】【安】【往】【下】【一】【滑】，【后】【半】【段】【监】【控】【就】【出】【来】【了】，【道】：“【夏】【小】【姐】，506【号】【房】【门】【口】【还】【站】【着】【一】【个】【男】【人】。” “【男】【人】？”【夏】【萘】【心】【里】【一】【紧】，【追】【问】【道】：
【的】【确】，【舅】【父】【顾】【亭】【秋】【为】【了】【避】【嫌】，【虽】【然】【允】【许】【了】【司】【慕】【云】【和】【他】【的】【几】【个】【学】【生】【去】【黎】【府】【道】【贺】，【但】【他】【自】【己】，【只】【让】【人】【送】【去】【了】【一】【份】【贺】【礼】，【并】【没】【有】【亲】【自】【到】【场】。 【所】【以】【现】【在】，【他】【也】【还】【在】【家】【里】。 【玉】【公】【公】【轻】【声】【说】【道】：“【贵】【妃】【娘】【娘】，【不】【管】【是】【前】【任】【内】【阁】【首】【辅】，【还】【是】【现】【任】【内】【阁】【首】【辅】——【这】【个】【时】【候】，【这】【么】【一】【个】【人】，【是】【有】【大】【用】【的】。” “……” 【南】【烟】【一】
【沐】【子】【钰】【见】【苏】【云】【清】【来】【了】，【就】【先】【撤】【了】，【百】【面】【被】【苏】【云】【清】【望】【得】【毛】【骨】【悚】【然】。 “【你】【是】【要】【杀】【我】【娘】【子】？”【苏】【云】【清】【饶】【有】【趣】【味】【地】【看】【着】【他】。 “【误】【会】【误】【会】，【师】【叔】，【侄】【儿】【不】【敢】！”【百】【面】【直】【接】【跪】【下】，【向】【他】【请】【罪】。 “【苏】【苏】，【有】【没】【有】【吓】【到】【你】？”【苏】【云】【清】【走】【上】【前】【去】，【脱】【下】【披】【风】【披】【到】【了】【她】【的】【肩】【上】，【她】【只】【摇】【了】【摇】【头】，“【无】【碍】。【既】【然】【是】【你】【的】【师】【侄】，【你】【来】【处】高清跑狗图493000【张】【一】【修】【小】【雅】【和】【蛮】【龙】【三】【人】，【手】【持】【神】【剑】，【暗】【中】【站】【在】【三】【个】【方】【位】，【把】【将】【夜】【围】【在】【中】【间】！【将】【夜】【不】【敢】【怠】【慢】…… 【四】【股】【冲】【天】【威】【势】【震】【慑】【人】【心】…… 【西】【门】【飞】【舞】【和】【任】【建】【见】【势】，【变】【悄】【然】【和】【十】【八】【罗】【刹】【向】【后】【退】【去】！【他】【们】【明】【白】，【在】【这】【里】【也】【只】【能】【成】【为】【三】【人】【的】【累】【赘】！ 【将】【夜】【察】【觉】【到】【后】，【冷】【声】【说】【道】：“【杀】【了】【他】【们】！” 【这】【话】【便】【是】【命】【令】，【无】【数】【身】【影】【紧】【跟】【着】【他】
【唐】【靖】【和】**，【还】【有】【唐】【婉】【婷】，【三】【人】【找】【到】【了】【莫】【柏】【之】【后】，【舍】【弃】【马】【车】，【骑】【上】【快】【马】，【火】【急】【火】【燎】【的】【赶】【往】【李】【渡】【城】。 【云】【湖】【绸】【缎】【庄】【在】【李】【渡】【城】【中】【有】【一】【所】【大】【的】【宅】【院】，【名】【曰】【李】【府】，【算】【是】【铁】【菲】【在】【李】【渡】【城】【中】【的】【宅】【院】，【此】【刻】【已】【是】【深】【夜】，【李】【府】【也】【早】【已】【关】【上】【了】【大】【门】，【只】【留】【下】【两】【只】【红】【红】【的】【灯】【笼】【映】【红】【门】【前】，【看】【上】【去】【甚】【是】【气】【派】。 【唐】【靖】【四】【人】【快】【马】【加】【鞭】【冲】【入】【了】【李】【渡】
【一】【步】【一】【步】【缓】【缓】【靠】【近】【二】【人】，“【宸】【儿】”【挑】【了】【挑】【眉】，【如】【是】【点】【点】【头】，【掩】【笑】【道】：“【再】【猜】【猜】？” “【少】【废】【话】，【你】【到】【底】【是】【谁】！”【金】【色】【身】【影】【失】【去】【了】【耐】【心】，【这】【个】【女】【人】【给】【他】【的】【感】【觉】【极】【不】【好】。 “【呀】，【龙】【鳞】【急】【了】……”“【宸】【儿】”【故】【作】【惊】【讶】，【嘴】【角】【渐】【稀】【抿】【开】【嘲】【笑】。 “【你】！？”‘【她】【竟】【知】【晓】【我】【的】【真】【身】！？’【她】【太】【过】【神】【秘】，【神】【秘】【得】【令】【人】【心】【生】【恐】【惧】