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  • Louisa Willcox

Episode 10 - Dr. Paul Paquet and Dr. Chris Darimont


Left: Dr. Chris Darimont, Right: Dr. Paul Paquet


This week, Louisa talks with Dr. Paul Paquet and Dr. Chris Darimont. Paul and Chris are both world renowned experts on predators and their wild ecosystems. Both have publications, in fact a huge number of publications; a list as long as your arm. They may look conventional on paper, but in reality they’re kind of rebels, and they represent a serious challenge to conventional wildlife management, because in addition to researching the animals and their ecosystems, they have expressed concern about the welfare of wildlife.





INTERVIEW EXCERPTS

"CD: We consider grizzlies, salmon and human beings as forming this whole among these really important parts of the coastal landscape in British Columbia, Canada. So for example, the people of this coast, in large part, think of and conceive of grizzly bears as, not just animals to protect, but they consider them ancestors or relatives, and what goes with that is a fundamentally different way of interacting with them and managing the bears. In essence, they manage themselves around bears."

"Working with indigenous peoples who are interested in not only safe-guarding grizzly bears and salmon from threats, but also working with them towards a renewed sense of sovereignty."

"If society and managers are interested in reducing the frequency, and probably severity, of human-bear conflict, then we should give bears salmon, not bullets."

"We find that in years with a 50 percent decline in salmon abundance over the previous year, which happens actually remarkably commonly in salmon, we can expect, based on 30 years of data that the frequency of conflict occurrences goes up by about 20 percent, a non-trivial amount."

"PP: … predators both manage and conserve. And that’s something that humans fail to do, and that’s a really interesting lesson that we should be able to take from them and apply…It’s striking that so many of these populations, not only did they co evolve, the predators and the prey, but they’ve been able to be sustained over millennia, literally, and successfully without seriously depleting populations to the point of where they disappear."

"I think that there is progress being made and far more consideration being given to animal welfare in particular -- wild animals -- than occurred before we really broached this. At Raincoast, we made a concerted effort to make this part of what we do: to associate animal welfare and conservation."

"CD: Raincoast did something that had never been done before -- and that is buy out the exclusive right to guide foreign hunters looking for grizzly and other trophies in an amazingly large area, greater than the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem area in fact. And since our initial purchase of the guide outfitting territory in 2003, we’ve acquired two others so that we have extinguished about half of the trophy hunting in an area about 35,000 square kilometers."

"I think this is a clear signal that society’s changing and no longer tolerant that a minority narrow special interest groups of trophy hunters can get away with behaving in this way."



MORE READING

The Lorax, Dr. Seuss

Teaching a Stone to Talk, Annie Dillard

Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold

Ecology of Conflict: Marine Food Supply Affects Human-Wildlife Interaction on Land, Artelle, K.A, et al, Sci. Rep. 6, 25936; doi: 10.1038/srep25936 (2016)

Wildlife Conservation and Animal Welfare: Two Sides of the Same Coin?, PC Paquet and CT Darimont, Animal Welfare, 2010, 19: 177-190 ISSN 1962-7286

The Unique Ecology of Human Predators, Chris Darimont et al, Science, 349, 858 (2015) DOI:10.1126/science.aac 4249



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