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Bear and wolf information meetings planned

The Waterton Biosphere Reserve Association’s carnivore working group will hold information meetings for land owners this month.
Meetings are Tuesday, Jan. 29 at 2 p.m. at the MD of Ranchlands office at Chain Lakes and 7 p.m. at Pincher Creek Heritage Inn and Thursday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. at Cardston Seniors Centre.
Speakers include carnivore working group co-ordinator Jeff Bectell, grizzly bear monitoring project co-ordinator Andrea Morehouse and Dave Ausband of the Montana Co-operative Wildlife Research Unit.
The grizzly bear monitoring project has been collecting hair samples in southwestern Alberta for DNA analysis since 2011.
At the invitation of land owners in 2012 the project was expanded from public to private land.
The information collected to date will be presented, including number of samples collected and number of individual grizzlies identified.
Dave Ausband began doing wolf monitoring research in the area this year, and will present his methods and findings, including information about pups born, and pack distribution.
Both projects will continue this year, and opportunities for involvement will be discussed, as well as how this research can help land owners and wildlife managers.
The Waterton Biosphere Reserve has been led by community members for more than 30 years, with the intent of balancing economic opportunities with environmental conservation.
In 2011 the Waterton Biosphere Reserve Association received a grant from Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development to promote community-led initiatives and projects for reducing problems that area residents have with large carnivores.
Projects have included such things as bear proofing grain bins, paying for dead stock removal and electric fencing around livestock and facilities.
Progressive steps are being taken, with encouraging results.