Cameras show impact of recreational activities on B.C. wildlife
VANCOUVER -- While the COVID-19 pandemic has led people to spend more time outdoors exploring B.C.'s parks, a study looking at camera traps shows the effect that increased activity is having on wildlife.
University of British Columbia researchers placed motion-activated cameras around South Chilcotin Mountains Provincial Park to study the impacts of recreational visitors.
The study, which focuses on 13 species like grizzly bears, black bears, moose, mule deer and wolves, found some activities led to behaviour changes more than others.
"Motorized activities can have a bigger impact on wildlife, but one of the things that's interesting from this recent study is that we've also seen a pretty strong signal from mountain biking," said Cole Burton, assistant professor of forest resource management.
"That can also cause displacement in wildlife, whereas we weren't seeing that evidence from this study from hiking or horseback riding. So we are seeing some differences in the different types of recreation."
These findings were part of a the first phase of a multiyear study, which were released last week and aim to inform future public policy and trail use guidelines at a later date.
Burton added that more research needs to be done to understand what the impacts are when wildlife is displaced from trails because of recreational activities.
"These (cameras) give us a great window into what the wildlife are doing in ways that we otherwise wouldn't see them," Burton said.
"These cameras are reminding us that we share these landscapes with many different wildlife that are also important and depend on these habitats."
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Nafeesa Karim