Wolf Workshops with Dr. Alistair Bath, MUN

Two Wolf Workshops entitled, “€œAre Wolves an Asset or Liability”€, were recently held in Thompson and Winnipeg and facilitated by Dr. Alistair Bath, Associate Professor at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Bath proceeded to go through a very comprehensive and interactive session that tackled all aspects of wolf development from identifying key issues, creating a vision for Manitoba, defining obstacles, increasing community involvement, creating a high quality product with respect for the animal, and providing opportunities in eco-tourism and sound wolf management. The exhausting day ended with listing action steps to be implemented by key people and target dates outlined.

Dr. Bath is a world expert in Human Dimensions of wildlife management. He teaches and deals with natural resource management issues, parks and protected areas planning, conflict resolution and public involvement, usually in the context of wildlife and large carnivore issues. Bath also teaches human dimensions courses in Germany and a conservation biology program in Rome, Italy.

Currently, Bath is a member of the IUCN Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe Species Group and has conducted numerous research projects throughout Europe focused on human dimensions in wolf, brown bear and lynx management issues. Bath has worked with hunters, farmers, environmentalists, biologists, shepherds, foresters and various levels of government to gain consensus on wolf management plans in Croatia and Bulgaria. He has also worked in Manitoba with various interest groups toward understanding issues regarding predation and a sustainable agricultural industry. Alistair attended the international Wolf & Carnivore Conference in Thompson in 2012 and was intrigued by the many wolf initiatives that Spirit Way had underway. He wanted to help Spirit Way Inc. build a stronger vision with action plans to implement.

Spirit Way Inc. President Marion Morberg introduced Dr. Bath to the audience and expressed her gratitude to have someone of such international experience and calibre be willing to take several days off his hectic schedule and work with Spirit Way Inc. The great level of response and broad attendance showed a tremendous interest in Thompson’€™s wolf initiatives.

Thirty four people attended from numerous organizations – Province of Manitoba /Wildlife Branch, University of Manitoba, University of Winnipeg, University College of the North, Travel Manitoba, Manitoba Hydro, RD Parker Collegiate, Frontiers North, The Wildlife Society, Boreal Discovery Centre Spirit Way Inc, Thompson Unlimited, City of Thompson, Heritage North Museum, Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, Agriculture Canada, Parks Canada, Manitoba Trappers Association, Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation, and Thompson Ecotourism Centre.

Workshop results and outcomes will be provided to Spirit Way Inc in a written report from Dr. Bath. A Wolf Advisory Group will be established to represent various interest groups in education, conservation, ecotourism, research and science, and policy management. As one person stated, “I found the workshop an excellent function that brought so many aspects to light of this charismatic animal. I look forward to seeing Thompson and Manitoba becoming a world leader in the various sectors.”

Spirit Way Inc. has been invited to be a presenter at the 2013 International Wolf Symposium in Duluth, Minnesota in October, 2013. The Wolf Workshop results will provide the basis of Spirit Way Inc.’s displays and presentations in the USA. The Symposium is hosted by the International Wolf Centre, USA. The keynote address will be given by Ted Turner, Founder of CNN and the Turner Endangered Species Fund.

Photo of Thompson Wolf Workshop Attendees: L to R:

Volker Beckmann, Eugene Larocque, Dan Smith, Dr. Alistair Bath, Nicole Eleniak-Harwood, Merv Gunter, Norma Leahy, Chuck Davidson, Penny Byer, Pierce Roberts, Leigha Mellish, Colin Ferguson, Marion Morberg, Joe Garson, Wayne Francois.

MISSING – Tanna Teneycke, Betty Landego, Shane Cripps, Kathryn McNaughton

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