YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE You are UNIQUE! This means YOU have special gifts to help
change the world. Talk to your parents about ways in which
you can recycle or conserve at home. Ask the wonderful
folk at zoos and conservations close to you how you can get
involved in all kinds of fun and educational activities. Get
your friends and neighbours involved. Look up websites for
zoos and wildlife conservations, and check out what’s going
on around the world!
The Humming Grizzly Cubs?
Join the JEACs –the Patels: Rohan, Nimal, Anu, Gina and, of course, their dog
Hunter; the Larkins: Amy and Mich; Umedh Ghosh, Rohan's best friend; and Jason,
Corazon, Chris and Ricky - four Canadians. More and more JEACs - Hurray!
J – Junior
E – Environmentalists
A – And
C – Conservationists
O Canada! Rohan, Umedh, Amy, Nimal, Anu, Gina and Mich are overjoyed to be together
at Manipau Wildlife Conservation Centre (MWCC), located in the lower Rocky mountains
in western Canada, and home to Amy and Mich Larkin. They are delighted that land
directly east of the Manipau border is under construction to build an entire Conservation
Community for senior citizens. This community will become involved, through Manipau, in
educating family and friends about the importance of protecting animals and the
Driving home from the Calgary airport, Janet Larkin, Mich and Amy's mom, receives a call
- a female grizzly bear is seriously injured and her cubs are distraught. Janet, who had
not wanted to spoil the JEACs' reunion, reluctantly informs them of a recent problem with
missing grizzlies at their Centre.
Upon reaching the Centre, Nimal soothes the mother bear, and to the delight of the
others, undertakes to look after the cubs. redictably, the JEACs, and four new Canadian
friends, Jason, Corazon, Chris and Ricky, are determined to discover why grizzlies are
being decimated, and by whom - this simply cannot be allowed!
They camp out at GW - Grizzly Watch, and begin their investigations, joined by Corazon
- the daughter of one of the rangers, Chris - Mich and Amy's cousin, and Ricky - Chris'
friend. Jason, a young construction worker on the Conservation Community construction
site also joins them.
Who is killing the grizzly bears? How do they gain access to Manipau? How many
crooks are there? The JEACs use their innumerable talents to resolve the situation.
Read the story about the JEACs' fifth adventure, and meet even more new members!
There are LOTS of extras in this book: DR. DOUG WHITESIDE'S wonderful Foreword!
What an amazing zoo veterinarian he is! Also, did you know that there are real JEACs in
Calgary? The leaders of the JEACs - CAC - No.3 group and their mothers, have written
articles in this book. Did you know that together with Amelia Lionheart (the author of
these books), this group raised over $6,000/- in two years, and donated money to many
organizations. Further, many young people, and some adults, have also written short
letters, which are also compiled at the end of this book.
Finally, don't forget that everybody has at least one talent! And, here's a reminder that
YOU are unique! Please use your talents and encourage your family and friends to
develop their talents too!
"Those who have packed far up into grizzly country know that the presence of even one
grizzly on the land elevates the mountains, deepens the canyons, chills the winds,
brightens the stars, darkens the forest, and quickens the pulse of all who enter it." John
Murray, The Great Bear Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis, which translates to the
'horrible brown bear') are an iconic keystone species in North America. Few species can
evoke such a wide range of emotions from wonder and amazement to healthy respect
and fear. While this iconic giant is often associated with images of breathtaking and
unspoiled wilderness, the sad reality is that human-bear conflicts, and destruction and
loss of habitat, are driving populations towards extinction.
Historically, grizzlies ranged from Alaska to Mexico, and as far east as the Mississippi
River. Over the past two centuries their population number and range have declined
dramatically. In Canada, the remaining population of approximately 20,000 bears is
confined to British Columbia, Western Alberta, the Yukon and Northwest Territories. At
the southern end of their range which extends into northern Idaho, Montana and
Wyoming, grizzlies are in trouble with approximately 1,800 bears left and their habitat
reduced to only 2 percent of their historical range.
In her new book The Humming Grizzly Bear Cubs, Amelia Lionheart highlights many of
the issues facing grizzly bears today. In order to survive, grizzlies need abundant
undisturbed wilderness. Males (boars) can have an average home range up to 2,000
square kilometres, while females (sows) can have ranges up to 500 square kilometres.
Loss of habitat to commercial property development, expansion of highways through their
natural corridors, oil and gas exploration and development, logging, hunting, illegal
poaching, and conflicts with humans in their natural space, have had detrimental
consequences to their population. Owing to their slow reproductive rate, any decline in
their population size has a negative impact on their long-term recovery. And grizzlies are
not alone in this plight. Six of the eight bear species found worldwide are listed as
threatened or vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Over the years, many orphaned or problem bears (those that have come into conflict with
humans) have ended up in zoological institutions as their last hope for survival. The sad
reality is that people are the usual cause of the conflicts. At the Calgary Zoo, our male
grizzly, Skoki (formerly Bear #16), was a young male that became a "problem bear" due
to human activity. Skoki spent his summers in the Bow Valley eating to gain enough
weight to sustain himself for his long winter hibernation. However, people started to stop
and get out of their cars to take pictures of him, causing traffic jams known as "bear
jams". While conservation officers and researchers tried adversive techniques to try to
keep him afraid of humans, over time he was introduced to discarded human food from
the thousands of people stopping to see him. He started to associate people with an
easy meal, and became bolder and more aggressive towards people when they invaded
his personal space. He was relocated by Parks Canada conservation officers; however,
owing to the amazing homing instinct in bears, he came back to his territory within a
short period of time. When he poked his head into the bakery at Lake Louise, it was
decided that he was too dangerous to remain in the wild, and fortunately the Calgary Zoo
had the space to take him. While Skoki has adjusted very well to his life at the zoo over
the past eighteen years, and is often seen playing in his pool, what is most unfortunate is
that he never had a chance to reproduce and now his genetics have been lost to the wild
population. His story serves as a reminder of the devastating consequences that can
occur due to the careless actions of people.
We can all do our part to keep bears safe in the wild. Become Bear Aware, never feed or
approach wild bears, and never leave food or garbage out for them to find. Drive with care
through bear habitats such as the National Parks. Finally, support conservation
organizations that will help protect their habitats and support research to keep them
healthy in the wild. The creation of the Junior Environmentalists and Conservationists
(JEACs) by Amelia Lionheart has served to inspire today's youth to become passionate
about the conservation of wildlife and wild spaces. I have had the pleasure to interact with
Amelia and the Calgary-based JEACs on several occasions, and have witnessed their
amazing work and their contributions to save endangered species. Through Amelia's
vision and guidance, they are a beautiful example of the ripple effect of conservation
education and how powerful it can be for achieving global change one small wave at a
Dr. Doug Whiteside Senior Staff Veterinarian, Calgary Zoo
Clinical Associate Professor,
University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine