Education in the field; using behavioral wildlife research to inform the interpretive program of an eco-tourism operation
Knight Inlet Lodge is an eco-tourism resort specializing in grizzly bear viewing, and caters to both national and international clients. The business requires research to improve their interpretive program by informing guide naturalists on the function of observed bear behaviour. Research is required to: 1) assess the relatedness and movements patterns of regularly observed bears, 2) assess the use of bear scent marking trees in the surrounding estuary, 3) assess how local food availability (salmon) affects the social behaviour of bears. Non-invasively derived DNA from bear fur will identify individuals and allow for the assessment of relatedness between bears. Capturing scent marking with remote cameras will allow for the analysis of the behaviour, and assessment of how it is influenced by food availability. Including this knowledge within the interpretive program will allow Knight Inlet Lodge to offer clients a noval market niche and high-quality wildlife experience.