The southwestern corner of Alberta, Canada, is home to a large number of people involved with agriculture; it is also home to a high population density of bears. With so many people and carnivores sharing the same habitat, there are bound to be conflicts.
In response to the community’s need to find solutions for dealing with large carnivores, The Waterton Biosphere Reserve Association (WBRA) embarked on a multi-solution, long term project called Carnivores and Communities. This program seeks to improve safety, mitigate conflict, and help compensate economic costs for people who share the landscape with large carnivores.
As the Waterton Biosphere Reserve has worked with the local community and wildlife managers to address the issues of living with large carnivores, the need has arisen to share the story. Large carnivores create many challenges for the farmers and ranchers that live here; challenges that impact both their livelihood and the safety of their families. Despite these challenges, southwestern Alberta families are working hard to solve the problems that arise when animals like bears and wolves share the landscape with people and agriculture. It is important for people who care about large carnivores, and people who care about the landscapes of southwestern Alberta, to recognize the effort spent and costs incurred by farmers and ranchers stewarding these lands.
And so it is that Sharing the Range was produced, offering a glimpse into the lives of farm and ranch families and their struggle to share the land with large carnivores. The farmers and ranchers of the Waterton Biosphere Reserve appreciate the unique landscape in which they live, knowing that their land is prime habitat for wildlife. However, making a living in this environment is not without challenges and wildlife can pose significant concerns for rural families in terms of safety and economics; along with the stress that comes from both worries.
Sharing the Range tells their story: real people, with real families who work hard to produce healthy food in a sustainable way that allows room for large carnivores to roam.