Art for Sea to Sky: Forage
Power. Majesty. Connection. The Grizzly Bear, Stl’alhalem, Ursus arctos horribilis, the North American Brown Bear. They captivate us, terrify us, and connect us to the intricate web of life that exists here in Atl’ka7tsem/Howe Sound. As an apex predator the Grizzly is responsible for maintaining ecosystems. They influence population dynamics within their communities, both of smaller predators and prey, and thus have a trickle-down effect to the lower trophic levels of flora and fauna. Grizzlies are central to the functioning of healthy ecosystems; the regulation of disease, the maintenance of biodiversity, and the recycling/recirculating of nutrients throughout the forest.
The coast of British Columbia offers the Grizzly a rich and diverse diet centered on
Forage – 30”x36” – 2020 – acrylic on canvas
large amounts of fatty salmon/Ma7at, and for this reason bears here are often larger than their inland cousins.
Here in Atl’ka7tsem a Grizzlies life revolves around the salmon/Ma7at, much as it does for the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh First Nation who have lived here from time immemorial. Salmon feeds the forest and the sea, they are a foundation species critical to all life here on the coast.
During the summer months (when the salmon is not running) Grizzlies can be found foraging shorelines in search of supplemental foodstuffs- Mussels, Clams, Oysters, Sea Stars, Crabs, Urchin and Herring Roe. This is just one of the many reasons a healthy shoreline and marine riparian zone supports an entire ecosystem and countless species that depend on it.