The situation in western Hudson Bay is a prime example of why Canada needs to triple ocean habitat protection. Manitoba has lost a third of its polar bear population in the past two decades and beluga whales in western Hudson Bay have been on Canada’s species-at-risk list since 2004.
If Volker Beckmann has his way, Thompson will be transformed into the Wolf Capital of Canada. The northern Manitoba city known mostly for mining will host the first International Wolf & Carnivore Conference in October and Beckmann hopes it will help Manitoba turn into a world leader in wolf management. “Wolves should be seen as an ecological and economic asset, similar to the way polar bears and beluga whales are to Churchill,” said Beckmann, a longtime resident of Thompson and the main organizer of the conference. “In northern Manitoba, wolves can attract researchers and tourists, provide new income and business opportunities, and create positive publicity for Thompson and Manitoba if managed and marketed properly. Thompson could link itself as the wolf capital to the polar bear capital in Churchill for eco-tourism efforts. There’s great potential.” Among those scheduled to speak at the conference is Rick Baydack, a University of Manitoba wildlife biology professor, who said there is still much to learn about the wolf and its northern Manitoba habitat. – Winnipeg Free Press