Chris Morgan & BEARTREK
A conservation story wrapped in an adventure
Motorcycling bear biologist on a mission to save the world's bears
British ecologist Chris Morgan (39) is no stranger to adventure. Over the last 20 years his wildlife conservation work has taken him to every continent where bears exist. From icy polar bear country at 81° North to tropical Andean bear forests sitting on the equator, Chris has found adventure among the focus animals of his life – the bears of the world. His conservation work has also taken him deep into the Canadian Rocky Mountains, the Scottish Highlands, Pakistan's Himalayas, northern Spain, Turkey, Borneo, and Alaska. In these places, and through his passion for the wild, his role as an imaginative bear conservationist with a mission has evolved.
Wherever Chris works, his ability to get through rough terrain miles from anywhere is key. So in 2001 he invested in a BMW F650GS Dakar to get him around the woods – especially the mountainous terrain of Washington State's North Cascade Mountains near where he lives. This is also home to one of North America's rarest mammals – the North Cascades grizzly – fewer than 20 of them remain. He describes tracking grizzly bears by motorcycle as one of the most exhilarating jobs on earth! "Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I think about what I get to do for a job", says Chris with a smile of humility on his face.
Chris' global travels have led him to many amazing people – many of whom have devoted their lives to studying, understanding, and protecting bears, and the unique, wild places that they occupy around the world. "I'd return home and talk to people about the experiences and the people I had met and they would be blown away – jaws would drop at the stories I would share".
This is partly where Chris' idea for BEARTREK emerged. "I'm in awe of the wildlife biologists I've met around the world who work for so little, and who struggle to get the world's attention for the species they study. These people have some of the most important jobs on earth".
So, along with a handful of passionate colleagues, including renowned film-maker Joe Pontecorvo and conservationist John Taylor, Chris launched the BEARTREK campaign and film, along with 'Wildlife Media', a non-profit conservation organization to oversee it.
"Conservation work is incredibly exciting and adventurous, but there is also a lot of heart and soul involved. Our approach with BEARTREK will mirror that – we're bringing funding and exposure to bear conservation in new, dynamic ways and we're here to tell some of the really rich stories from the planet's wildest places where bears can still be found."
The BEARTREK journey has already taken him and his team to Alaska to film the world's largest bears (over 1200 pounds!), and to Borneo's tropical rainforest - home of the Malaysian sun bear – the smallest, and perhaps least known of the bears. Other BEARTREK destinations include Mongolia, India, and Peru, where a young biologist has discovered a unique population of Andean bears that exist in one of the most inhospitable places on earth.
In these places Morgan depends upon another trusty ally - his Arai helmet. "The Arai XD helmet was the only helmet on my wish-list as we were gathering equipment together for the film – it's a perfect blend of comfort, style, and functionality".
BEARTREK will raise awareness about the most incredible corners of our fragile planet through a unique and epic adventure that reveals a message of hope and optimism for the future for our wild places and animals.
BEARTREK has also lead to other exciting developments – Chris has recently been engaged by PBS NATURE to develop and host a two-hour special about Alaska's bears in collaboration with National Geographic Television.
Chris owns a small ecology and environmental education business in Bellingham, Washington State. He is the Co-Director of the acclaimed Grizzly Bear Outreach Project (GBOP) in the North Cascades. GBOP has been praised as a model for effective outreach and has taken great steps to engage communities in grizzly bear information dissemination since 2002. The approach is now benefiting cougar and wolf conservation in Washington State. Chris is also a frequent lecturer at Western Washington University's Huxley College of Environmental Science in Bellingham where he teaches ecology and environmental science classes. He has a B.S. in Applied Ecology (East London, UK) and an M.S. in Advanced Ecology (Durham, UK). In 2003, the Environmental Education Association of Washington honored Chris as Outstanding Environmental Educator of the year. Chris spends much of his work, and play time in the North Cascade Mountains one hour from his home.
Chris Morgan, MS Ecology
Scientist and Conservationist
Executive Director, Wildlife Media
PO Box 28656, Bellingham,
Washington State 98228-0656, USA
Tel: USA (360) 734 6060
Fax: USA (360) 734 0800
Wildlife Media is a registered non-profit organization
Wildlife Media's feature-length film, BEARTREK follows renowned bear biologist and naturalist Chris Morgan on a motorcycle adventure across three continents to understand and conserve the rarest bears on earth. Chris's daring adventures are astounding and his dedication to bear conservation is highly contagious! BEARTREK is much more than just a film. It's an awareness and fund-raising campaign about bears. Donations to Wildlife Media help to fund innovative bear conservation projects as well as the production of BEARTREK and its associated education elements. Profits from BEARTREK will be pumped right back into priority bear conservation projects in places like Peru, India, and Borneo.
Contributions to Wildlife Media are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.
Donations can be made quickly and securely here: http://wildlifemedia.org/donate