Jasper National Park is asking hikers to volunteer to collect bear scat. Scat Seekers, a new volunteer programme, aims to help wildlife specialists to further understand the population trends of grizzly and black bears. Data collection begins at the end of July. Parks Canada has already held two training workshops and more are slated as the end of July date approaches. Parks Canada expects to reach its maximum number of volunteers by mid-July.

Parks Canada is asking hikers to collect samples on front trails and those in the backcountry in the areas south of Highway #16 or north from the Pyramid Bench trails in Jasper National Park. Samples from other areas like Celestine Lake or the North Boundary Trail are not necessary.

Scat seeking is easy. Using the Foothills research Institute’s Grizzly Scat App, hikers pick up scat and place it in a vial that is in a kit given to them. They are asked to take a picture of the vial and the QR code on the vial and then download the app at www.grizzlyscatapp.ca. The image will automatically be sent to the bear biologists. Later, the GPS location of the site and the DNA details will be recorded.

How do you sign up? Email jasper.volunteers@pc.ca to receive a volunteer application form. Scat seekers are happy hikers!