For Chilcotin Holidays, conservation is more than just a word. It is a recognition that people, wildlife and habitats cannot live in isolation. They are dependent on one another and, because of this, their well-being requires close, strategic monitoring.
As such, since 2008, Chilcotin Holidays has collaborated with the Wilderness Stewardship Foundation, in a conservation effort to manage the balance of this area for all users long into the future.
Everyone at the ranch has an important part to play to contribute towards this goal. As guides, it is our responsibility to document the sightings of different wildlife species that we see out in the mountains. By recording how many species we see, and what their behaviour patterns are, we provide important information that the Wilderness Stewardship Foundation can archive for further study.
I was first trusted with this role of wilderness steward back in September, when myself and another guide where given the task to go and scout for wildlife near one of Chilcotin Holidays’ alpine camps. Armed with binoculars and many layers of clothing, we would set off each morning before sun-rise, ride up to the top of the ridge line, and wait for the wildlife to appear through the trees.
The amount of wildlife that I saw was incredible. As the South Chilcotin Mountain range is in a biodiversity hotspot, the variation of climate creates a broad range of eco-system types that supports healthy populations of predators and their prey. As such, not only did we see many deer whilst scouting, but we also spotted mountain goats, a grizzly, wolf tracks, cougar tracks, and many different species of birds. The details we record include the date and time we saw the animal, the number in the group, age and sex if we can determine them and details about the animal’s behaviour, habitat and distance from us.
Witnessing the broad variation of wildlife first-hand really helped sink-in the importance of protecting nature. In our ever-changing world, it is easy to become self-absorbed in your own problems, and not focus on the bigger picture in life. Through being part of the ranch’s efforts to help protect this unique part of BC’s wilderness, I am learning that I have to live life with a purpose if I want to achieve a positive impact on my environment, and the natural environment too.