University of Victoria wildlife expert Dr. Chris Darimont – a research pioneer on B.C.’s coastal wolves and bears, and a passionate advocate for science-based conservation policy – is this year’s winner of the Distinguished Academics Early in Career award from the Confederation of University Faculty Associations.
Darimont, who is the Hakai-Raincoast geography professor in UVic’s faculty of social sciences, is an interdisciplinary conservation scientist who has conducted groundbreaking research on the importance of wolves and bears to coastal ecosystems and people. For example, he has injected new evidence into the grizzly bear trophy hunting controversy by working with locally owned and operated bear ecotourism companies to take a science-based “inventory” of bears in their area.
Darimont and his students study the relationships among wildlife, salmon and people on B.C.’s central coast, also known as the Great Bear Rainforest. The research is united by strong partnerships with the four indigenous nations of the central coast who hold indigenous knowledge of the area.
“I’ve been uplifted by my nominators and supporters, who are the same people behind the accomplishments that I’m being singled out for,” he said. “So I feel a sense of pleasant responsibility to give back to my partners – students, non-profit colleagues and the young leaders from the sovereign indigenous nations of our coast.”
Darimont says he’s donating the $1,000 cash award to UVic to help establish a new scholarship for indigenous students.
This is the first year a UVic faculty member has won the Early in Career Award since it was added to the award roster in 2010.