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The Salmon Bears

De
96 pages
Extensively illustrated with Ian McAllister's magnificent photographs, The Salmon Bears explores the delicate balance that exists between the grizzly, black and spirit bears and their natural environment, the last great wilderness along the central coast of British Columbia. Key to this relationship are the salmon that are born in the rivers each spring, who then go out to sea as juveniles and return as adults to spawn and die, completing a cycle of life that ensures the survival of not only their own species but also virtually every other plant and animal in the rainforest. In clear language suitable for young readers, the authors describe the day-to-day activities that define the lives of these bears through the four seasons. But this is also very much the story of the Great Bear Rainforest, a vast tract of land that stretches from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the Alaska border and contains some of the largest stands of old-growth forest left on the West Coast. The Salmon Bears focuses on the interconnectedness of all life in the rainforest and makes a strong case for the importance of protecting this vital ecological resource.
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I A N MCA L L I S T E R&N I C H O L A S R E A Dthe salmonbears G I A N T S O F T H E G R E A T B E A R R A I N F O R E S T
P H O T O G R A P H S B YI A N MCA L L I S T E R
I A N MCA L L I S T E R&N I C H O L A S R E A Dthe salmon bears G I A N T S O F T H E G R E A T B E A R R A I N F O R E S T
P H O T O G R A P H S B YI A N MCA L L I S T E R
Text copyright ©2010Ian McAllister & Nicholas Read
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Read, Nicholas, 1956  Salmon bears / written by Nicholas Read ; photographs by Ian McAllister. ISBN 9781554692057 1. BearsBritish ColumbiaGreat Bear RainforestJuvenile literature. I. McAllister, Ian, 1969 II. Title.
QL737.C27R42 2010 j599.7809711’1 C20099072548
First published in the United States,2010
Library of Congress Control Number:2009942216
Summary: The Great Bear Rainforest on British Columbia’s central coast is home to one of the world’s last significant populations of wild bears: grizzlies, blacks and spirit bears.
Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and the Book Publishing Tax Credit.
Cover design by Teresa Bubela Layout by Nadja Penaluna Cover and interior images by Ian McAllister Page v map by D. Leversee, Sierra Club BC Page 82 map by Western Canada Wilderness Committee Photo of Ian McAllister by Douglas Cowell Photo of Nicholas Read by Dave Scougal
Orca Book Publishers is dedicated to preserving the environment and has printed this book on paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
Orca Book Publishers PO Box 5626, Stn. B Victoria, BC Canada V8R 6S4
Orca Book Publishers PO Box 468 Custer, WA USA 982400468
www.orcabook.com Printed and bound in Canada.
13 12 11 10 • 4 3 2 1
RIGH T:A mother grizzly and her cub swim acrossa Great Bear river.
C O N T E N T S
CHAPTER 1CHAPTER 2
CHAPTER 3CHAPTER 4
CHAPTER 5 CHAPTER 6CHAPTER 7
A Magical Place1 Winter 13 Spring 21
Summer37 Fall51 Winter Again 73
What the Future Might Hold79 Index8 8
L EF T:Pink salmon are the most abundant species of salmon in the Great Bear Rainforest. They are counted by the millions as they migrate into the area’s many creeksand rivers.
Alaska
Haida Gwaii
British Columbia
Washington
Vancouver Island
Great Bear Rainforest British Columbia
CHAPTER ONE
A Magical Place
magine visiting a place where there are trees as buIllion roam the land like kings. Well, there is suchtall as skyscrapers, the ocean roars like a lion, and giant bears the color of darkness, snow and gold a place. It’s on the west coast of British Columbia, and it’s called the Great Bear Rainforest. Reaching from the top of Vancouver Island to the tip of Alaska’s Panhandle, and jutting in from the Pacific Ocean to the Coast Mountains, the Great Bear Rainforest is one of the world’s last great wilder nesses. It’s not like a park that you can drive or ride your bike through; it’s more like a jungle. A jungle where it rains—and rains and rains—that you can only get to by boat or floatplane. While aboriginal, or First Nations, people have lived in this maze of inlets, bays and fjords for over ten thousand years,
L EF T:The coastal temperate rainforest is one of the rarest forest types on the planet and also one of the most biologically productive.
JUST THE BEAR FAC TS
What’s the weather like in the Great Bear Rainforest?
It’s a temperate rainforest, which means it never gets really hot or cold. The mountaintops are always cold, but the forests freeze only in winter, and sometimes not even then. In summer it’s warm enough to go outside without a jacket. But it’s also very windy, especially near the sea, which is why you often see trees bent over like rickety old men. The rainforest is strongly influenced by the Pacific Ocean, and because the ocean doesn’t change temperature very much over the year, neither does the rainforest.
RIGH T:A rainbow breaks through a midsummer storm on a coastal estuary. Estuaries are where the ocean meets the rainforest; they provide important habitat for coastal bears.
L EF T:Springtime in the Great Bear Rainforest. Two subadult grizzly siblings have a wrestling match along a coastal estuary.
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I A N M C A L L I S T E R & N I C H O L A S R E A D
it got its popular name more recently when people concerned about its future set out to tell the world about it. They called it the Great Bear Rainforest because of the great bears that live in it—the grizzly bear, the American black bear and the spirit bear,a rare kind of black bear with white fur. Bears are typi cally shy of people, but if you’re determined to find one, the Great Bear Rainforest is the place to look because thousands of them live there. Most are black bears, but there are hundreds of grizzlies too—great bears that need a great rainforest to survive. What’s surprising is that most of the Great Bear Rainforest isn’t a forest at all. Although it covers five million hectares—an area almost as big as the province of Nova Scotia—only a small part is actual rainforest. The rest is made up of steep mountains, windswept glaciers, jagged ice fields and soggy, spongy bogs, all surrounded by a roiling, churning ocean where all sorts of interesting creatures live.If you look at the map on page v, you’ll see that the land is so broken up by rivers, streams, fjords,
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