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Bear researcher to give summer lectures

Popular bear researcher Michael Allen will give two presentations...



Popular bear researcher Michael Allen will give two presentations over the summer as part of the Whistler Museum Lecture Series, drawing on his lengthy study of the black bear population of the valley.

The first will be held May 30 and will focus on the annual life-cycle of Whistler’s black bears and the changes Allen has noted over the last 10 years of study.

He has been studying the natural history of black bears in non-natural "enhanced habitats" in British Columbia for 18 years.

He studied bears in the Lower Columbia River Valley between 1987 and 1992 and in the Resort Municipality of Whistler between1993 and 2004.

Allen has managed to identify over 200 individual bears thanks to systematic observations in semi-open landscapes. He was also able to study different populations of bears that congregated at clumped food sources – the landfill, spring ski trails, the golf courses, and fall berry shrub-fields.

The annual monitoring includes 30 bears. Allen also keep tabs on 12 adult females including cub production and survival, breeding behaviour, and transsexual response from male aggression.

The bears denning ecology is also studied. Allen surveys 196 winter dens, snow-trails 90 bears, and monitors 50 bears during hibernation.

The second lecture will reveal the results of Allen’s unique DNA analysis from hair-trapping and population monitoring.

The study was done to determine genetic profiles and inter-relatedness of Whistler's Black Bears. It will be held Sept. 17.

Both presentations, hosted by the Whistler Museum and Archives Society, will take place at Millennium Place. Tickets will be available for $9 adult, $5 child from MY Place Box Office in person or over the phone at 604-935-8418.

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