The Dodo with permission. A couple of autumns ago, I ventured into the Great Bear Rainforest to learn new lessons about wildlife. Word was that humans in this place had returned to a much older way of living with animals. This remote Canadian temperate rainforest covers 21 million coastal acres along coastal British Columbia. Five million acres of it are protected and closed to development as well as hunting bears and wolves. Only accessible by boat or seaplane, these conservancies lie scattered like emeralds flung from a giant's fist across 250 miles of ragged coastline.
The bear mother; because she is still lactating the cub must be this year's. Photo by Cristina Eisenberg.The bear mother showed me how it once was between us and wild creatures sharp of tooth and claw, long before we thought we knew everything and could grow forests and elk like we grow cabbages, to paraphrase Aldo Leopold badly. When he wrote, "To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering," he was referring to the importance of saving large carnivores. While we can't quite recreate the close relations we may once have had with living things, such as what I experienced in the Great Bear Rainforest, we can envision a world in which we base our relationships with carnivores and other animals on respect, rather than fear. A world where we allow carnivores to fulfill their ecological roles as much as possible. A world where we give them room to roam, so that their benefits cascade through whole ecosystems. Learn more about carnivore coexistence with the Island Press Rewilding Adventure sweepstakes, a once in a lifetime chance to join Cristina Eisenberg in Yellowstone National Park as part of her Yellowstone Association Institute course "Carnivores and Corridors." Experience what it means to have carnivore species roaming across the park's vast landscapes. Prize includes air travel, accommodations, rental car, course fees, and a complimentary copy of Eisenberg's The Carnivore Way.