In Our Backyard: Grizzly Bear


Grizzly bears are iconic animals that play an important role in the ecosystems and cultures of the Thompson Watershed. They are one of the most magnificent and powerful animals in the world, and they are distinguished by their large size, humped shoulders and fur that often has a silver or pale tip, giving them a grizzled appearance.

Fun Fact: The Nicola region’s name actually comes from Grand Chief N’Kwala, who led the Okanagan Nation in the 19th century. His original name was Hwistesmexe’qen and means “Walking Grizzly Bear” in Spokane language. He was known for his diplomacy and intelligence, and he forged good relations with both his People and the newcomers.


Grizzly bears are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plants and animals, and they have a varied diet that depends on the season and the availability of food. Grizzly bears are also highly intelligent and adaptable, and they can live in different habitats, such as forests, mountains, tundra, and coastal areas.


Grizzly bears are a blue-listed species in BC, which means they are of special concern due to their sensitivity to human activities or natural events. The Thompson-Nicola region is home to an estimated 317 individual bears, which is about 6% of the provincial population. In the Thompson Watershed, grizzly bears face various challenges and risks, such as habitat loss and fragmentation, human-caused mortality, and climate change.

Conservation Efforts

To ensure the long-term health and resilience of grizzly bears and their habitats, the provincial government has developed a Cumulative Effects Framework (CEF) that assesses and manages the cumulative effects of natural resource development on grizzly bears and other values. The report provided several recommendations and actions to address the cumulative effects and improve the management of grizzly bears in the region, such as:

  • Enhancing the collaboration and coordination among government agencies, First Nations, industry, and other stakeholders to implement the CEF and the Grizzly Bear Management Plan.
  • Improving the monitoring and reporting of grizzly bear populations, habitats, and human activities, and incorporating Indigenous and local knowledge into the data collection and analysis.
  • Implementing and enforcing the Wildlife Act and the Wildlife Amendment Act to reduce human-caused mortality of grizzly bears, and promoting public awareness and education on how to prevent and respond to human-bear conflicts.
  • Restoring and conserving grizzly bear habitats, especially in areas with high habitat suitability and connectivity, and minimizing the impacts of resource development and recreational activities on grizzly bear habitats.
  • Adapting the management of grizzly bears and their habitats to the projected effects of climate change, such as changes in food availability, fire regimes, and hydrological cycles.

Grizzly bears are an important part of the ecosystems and cultures they inhabit, and they deserve our respect and protection. By doing ecological research in a good way, and by collaborating and engaging with Indigenous Peoples and Lands, we can help ensure the long-term health and resilience of grizzly bears and their habitats in the Thompson-Nicola region and beyond.

Additional Resources