Sharing the range
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Southwestern Alberta is where the mountains meet the prairies. Strong winds shape the landscape, and the Rocky Mountains transition rapidly to agricultural lands. The area is part of the Crown of the Continent, home to the Waterton Biosphere Reserve, and arguably one of the most beautiful places in Alberta, Canada. Unlike other regions of the province, however, there is little public land and the home ranges of large carnivores including grizzly bears (Ursus arctos), black bears (Ursus americanus), wolves (Canis lupus), and cougars (Puma concolor) overlap substantially with agricultural land uses. This high degree of overlap means that there is the propensity for conflict. Sharing the Range is a short film about the challenges that can arise when people and large carnivores share the landscape. In the film, we attempt to tell a small part of the story about people and large carnivores in the Waterton Biosphere Reserve, and detail some of the work that is currently underway through our Carnivores and Communities Program. Waterton Biosphere Reserve’s Carnivores and Communities Program works with landowners and producers to help mitigate large carnivore-agricultural conflicts. Some of our initiatives include electric fencing projects, grain bin retrofits, a deadstock removal program, and bear safety workshops. Through the efforts of many dedicated farmers, ranchers, biologists, and land managers, we are working to find ways to maintain both sustainable populations of carnivores and economically viable rural communities. The film, Sharing the Range, is a small piece of that story.