Black bear versus trail cam

Black bear (Photo by NCC)

Black bear (Photo by NCC)

July 22, 2019 | by Maia Herriot

Last summer, Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) Saskatchewan Region employees identified possible Canada lynx tracks on the Nathan Lang Memorial Property. This prompted them to find a way to monitor what species could be recorded on the property when humans aren’t present. Canada lynx are not endangered in Saskatchewan, but they are elusive and rarely seen.

Each NCC property shelters important habitat for a range of species. Once a property is acquired, staff conduct an inventory of the species found on the property, which they record in the Land Information System (LIS). This information helps our science team develop management plans for the areas in order to protect the plants and animals that live there. If endangered or rare species are recorded, that information is shared with partner organizations who also document at-risk species.  

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A black bear caught on the trail cam (Photo by NCC)

A black bear caught on the trail cam (Photo by NCC)

Stewardship coordinator Emily Little and conservation science/LIS coordinator Ryan Dudragne installed a trail cam on the Nathan Lang Memorial Property to monitor species and help with its management. Since the trail cam went up last summer, most of the photos it has captured have been of coyote, deer and black bear. While the black bear visits have made for some great pictures, not every bear enjoys having its photo taken. In May, staff found one of the cameras broken off its post, likely the work of a black bear because the last photos the camera took before falling were of a black bear rubbing up against it. This was not the first time this has happened.

Nathan Lang Memorial Property sign (Photo by NCC)

Nathan Lang Memorial Property sign (Photo by NCC)

While it was nothing a glue gun couldn’t fix, the most fool-proof (and bear-proof) way to manage a property is still on foot. With over 220 properties to monitor every summer, NCC’s conservation team needs your help.

The Nathan Lang Memorial Property, and others, are available to be symbolically adopted through the Property Watch Program. The program matches interested volunteers with properties in southern-central Saskatchewan. If you adopt a property, you can visit it at your leisure and help us manage the property by sending lists of species you see to NCC and checking on fences. Make sure that you've been trained in bear safety before visiting a property.

The Nathan Lang Memorial Property was donated to NCC by Roy and Lana Lang in memory of their grandson, Nathan.  

The Conservation Internship Program is funded in part by the Government of Canada's Summer Work Experience program.

Maia Herriot

About the Author

Maia Herriot is the summer communications intern for NCC's Saskatchewan Region.

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