Sharing the Range

A story about the challenges of living with large carnivores, and how people in the Waterton Biosphere Reserve are meeting those challenges.
Watch the film

The Film

Watch the full documentary (just 15 minutes in length) and view upcoming showing events.


Attending a live showing presented by the Waterton Biosphere Reserve Association offers so much more than just watching the film online.   Many of these showings include open discussion periods following the film which present thought provoking conversations on topics that are important to the future of large carnivores like grizzly bears, and the future of our farmers and ranchers who are working to coexist with these animals.

Who is responsible for large carnivores such as grizzly bears ?  What are the challenges of living day to day with large carnivores ?  How are farmers and ranchers meeting these challenges ?

Bring your best questions with you and join us at one of the events below.  We can’t wait to see you there !

Currently we have no scheduled showings of the film, if you are interested in hosting a showing please contact us we would be happy to assist you with your event !


Watch Sharing the Range (click image below)


" We have bears in all this country , lots of sows with little cubs. They’ve denned near here – so it’s not just in the mountains and not just on public lands that we are seeing a lot of grizzly bears. It’s on private lands all over the place. – Jeff Bectell, rancher, WBRA Chair and Coordinator of the WBRA Carnivore Working Group "


Cast and Crew

Chair of the WBRA, Jeff ranches with his wife and five children south of Cardston, Alberta just 3 miles north of the Montana border. His children are the 5th generation on their land which Jeff’s great grandfather purchased in 1917. Important to Jeff are his community, his family and his ranch. As he saw these three things which mean so much to him being heavily impacted by a growing number of large carnivores in the area, he committed himself to making positive changes which would see the reduction of large carnivore conflicts. Jeff is also the Coordinator for the WBRA Carnivore Working Group which directs “Carnivores and Communities ”

Snapshot 6 (2-22-2015 8-35 PM) Mike is a large carnivore specialist who worked with Parks Canada for 33 years, most recently as the Carnivore Specialist for Mountain Parks until that position was retired. His experience in the area of reducing large carnivore conflicts with people is broad and includes work with not just grizzlies but wolves, coyotes and black bears.



Snapshot 5 (2-22-2015 8-33 PM)Rancher and Area Coordinator for the WBRA Carnivore Working Group, Tony ranches with his wife Lorainne and their two children near Twin Butte, Alberta. 2014 marked their family’s 100th year on the farm. For years Tony has been working on initiatives to reduce human/carnivore conflict both as an active member of various community groups and through projects on his ranch.


 Snapshot 9 (2-22-2015 8-39 PM)Jen’s family came to the Waterton Park, Alberta area in 1888, where she continues to ranch today.   Living so close to a national mountain park like Waterton means that they often see a large number of carnivores including black and grizzly bears, wolves, coyotes and cougars.  Over the years the family has implemented a number of management changes and completed projects aimed at reducing conflict with large carnivores.  Jen is also the Communications Coordinator for the Waterton Biosphere Reserve Association (WBRA).


 Snapshot 7 (2-22-2015 8-36 PM)Andrea came to the Waterton Biosphere Reserve doing a masters project on predation of livestock by wolves.  She is now the Southwest Alberta Grizzly Bear Monitoring Program coordinator and working on completing her PhD at the University of Alberta.   Her research has been very well received by the local community, where she is a trusted scientist.  Andrea is also a WBRA board member.
Snapshot 4 (2-22-2015 8-32 PM)A third generation rancher and WBRA Director, Shane ranches with his wife Laurel and two sons.  His family purchased their first piece of land in 1924 in the Boundary Creek area. Throughout the years his family has noticed a big change in the number of bears they are seeing, something that has had a large impact on his cattle operation and on the people who call his ranch home.
leanne allisonLeanne is a filmmaker based in Canmore, Alberta. She has directed two award-winning documentaries with the National Film Board of Canada, Being Caribou (2004) and Finding Farley (2009).Both films are based on long epic personal journeys through remote wilderness areas in Canada. Each journey shapes the next, including her first foray into the world of interactive through Bear 71. All of Leanne’s projects explore themes of threatened wildlife and our connection to nature in the modern age.  You can view Leanne’s website here.


Carnivores and Communities

Grizzly Bear Monitoring Project

The  Southwest Alberta Grizzly Bear Monitoring Project (GBMP) was initiated in 2011, and is a joint effort between the University of Alberta, Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, Parks Canada, and Alberta Parks.  The overall goal of the program is to provide updated information of grizzly bear density and abundance within southwestern Alberta.  The project analyses DNA extracted from bear hair samples collected from bear rub objects, fence crossings, and other opportunistic sampling locations (e.g. grain bins, conflict locations, etc.). This non-invasive method provides cost savings over traditional monitoring methods (i.e. radiocollaring), is safe for personnel and wildlife, and provides a long-term collaborative monitoring framework for grizzly bears. Further results and information can be found on the GBMP website.

Reducing Large Carnivore Attractants

Restricting access to attractants can significantly reduce carnivore-human conflicts. In southwestern Alberta, the primary agricultural attractants include dead livestock (deadstock), granaries, bee yards, livestock, and calving areas. In order to decrease conflicts with large carnivores, the Carnivores and Communities program provides support to activities designed to remove or reduce carnivore attractants. Current attractant management projects include removing dead livestock from the landscape, making grain and feed storage facilities more secure, and installing electric fencing to keep carnivores away from other attractants. The Carnivores and Communities program has also produced three technical guides designed to support landowner efforts to reduce conflicts with large carnivores.

Black Bear Monitoring in Southwestern Alberta

In collaboration with the GBMP, a new Black Bear Monitoring Project has been initiated in southwestern Alberta by Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (AESRD), Parks Canada, Alberta Parks, The University of Alberta, and the Waterton Biosphere Reserve. The project will use hair samples already collected during the GBMP, whose study area extends north to Hwy 3, west to the B.C. border, south to the U.S. border, and east to the extent of grizzly bear range. DNA extracted from hair follicles will be used to identify if a hair sample is from a black or grizzly bear, if it is from a male or female, and to assign an individual genetic identity. Non-invasive genetic methods, such as these, are a cost-efficient alternative to trapping and collaring bears, and allow identification of individual black bears to generate a population and density estimate for the region.


Revised Carnivore Compensation Program

Even with the implementation of attractant management efforts, large carnivores will still sometimes kill livestock. While some death loss is an acknowledged part of raising livestock, livestock losses to predators in southwestern Alberta represent a significant financial burden to producers.  The Alberta Wildlife Predator Compensation Program provides monetary compensation for cattle, sheep, bison, swine and goats injured or killed by wolves, grizzly bears, black bears, cougars and eagles. After discussion with producers, the WBR Carnivore Working Group (CWG) initiated a project in 2012 to expand the review of compensation programs completed by the Miistakis Institute in 2011 and develop a proposal for a revised carnivore compensation program for southwestern Alberta. The project resulted in two reports Report 1: Summary of Carnivore Compensation Programs  and Report 2: Proposed Amendments to the Alberta Wildlife Predator Compensation Program. In January of 2013, the CWG submitted the two reports to the Alberta Government and has requested the opportunity to discuss how the proposed changes can be implemented on a pilot basis within the municipalities of Ranchland, Willow Creek, Pincher Creek and Cardston.

For more information on Carnivores and Communities please visit the Waterton Biosphere Reserve website.




logo-130Sharing the Range was produced by Waterton Biosphere Reserve with the cooperation of many people who live in this area.

Located in the southwestern corner of Alberta, the Waterton Biosphere Reserve [WBR] is one of only 18 biosphere reserves in Canada. The WBR area encompasses some of the most spectacular and ecologically diverse landscapes in the Canadian Rockies and prairie grasslands. Designated in 1979 by UNESCO [United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization], the WBR fosters and encourages a sustainable, community-based regional economy, with quality biodiversity, landscape and social values.

To find out more about the Waterton Biosphere Reserve please visit our website.

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