Monthly Archive for September, 2011
As part of developing Thompson as the Wolf Capital of Canada, Erin McCloskey was invited to Thompson in August with the help of Spirit Way Inc., Calm Air, and Lone Pine Publishing. McCloskey has just authored and released a new book, Wolves in Canada, which provides a scientific, biological, political, and management history of wolves in this country.
Erin McCloskey has a degree in Conservation Biology from the University of Alberta, Canada, and has worked with several environmental and wildlife conservation organisations as well as in publishing. She is a travel journalist, an editor, and has authored several natural history books for Lone Pine Publishing, as well as books for various publishers, including a series of international voluntourism guides and large format books on Canada, Italy and Hawaii. Erin was the North American Manager with Biosphere Expeditions (BE) of the United Kingdom on international research expeditions studying endangered species. McCloskey currently resides in New Zealand, where she works in the ecotourism industry and continues to work with BE in a free lance capacity.
During her Thompson visit, McCloskey made a presentation to the Chamber of Commerce about her work around the world with Biosphere Expeditions which is a scientific and tourism organization. They undertake interesting science research projects with wildlife and invite tourists from afar to be the scientist’s assistants to gather information. The expeditions may last several years and the helpers come for one and two week slots. Currently Spirit Way Inc. is leading the way with a proposal to Biosphere Expeditions to launch a polar bear-wolf-climate-change research project in northern Manitoba in 2013. Manitoba Conservation and University College of the North are collaborating on the project. Many considerations must be addressed and dealt with to finalize the wolf research project, but the implications for Thompson are significant. Working with BE will attract many people from around the world. It will draw media attention as BE has received numerous awards and much press coverage by various publications including National Geographic. BE is currently looking for a North American project. The untold packs of wolves of northern Manitoba have a great deal of appeal for a scientific research organization.
McCloskey mentioned in her Chamber presentation that Thompson is uniquely positioned as it is surrounded by huge areas of pristine wilderness that hold thousands of wolves. This top predator can be a field of research for universities, researchers, and the University College of the North in Thompson. How do wolves interact with their prey – moose, caribou and even polar bears? Northern Manitoba is wilderness Canada at its finest. As more roads open in the north, and hydro dams and electrical transmission corridors are built, the prey-predator dynamics will change. Wolves tend to use these corridors as super highways which gives them an advantage over their traditional large ungulate prey. Manitoba needs to implement carefully studied and best practised management policies on big game animals. If that were done, Manitoba could become a world leader in wolf management policies and attract many international visitors. Wolves must be recognized as an ecological and economic asset.
McCloskey and Spirit Way Inc. Board members met with members of University College of the North, and Manitoba Conservation. She also visited the Thompson Zoo and spoke to Erin Wilcox, the Zoo Director. McCloskey suggested focusing on “native species” could open a niche and develop a brand for the facility in the future that would be less “zoo” and more a conservation and education centre. McCloskey said she was impressed by how “beautiful” Thompson is and how active and progressive Spirit Way Inc. is with their wolf initiatives. McCloskey was looking forward to a return visit once Biosphere Expedition’s international wolf research project commences. Numerous ideas and suggestions were exchanged to continue the dialog and both parties are looking forward to a long term relationship.