Grizzly Bears Endangered in Alberta

In late May a female grizzly bear was hit and killed by a freight train near Banff. The same week wildlife officers had to kill a grizzly bear that had been shot illegally, but was still alive. Seventeen bears there were killed by human actions in 2009. Carl Morrison, a Sierra Club campaigner said of the mortality rate, “Such a high number of human-caused grizzly bear mortalities indicate that the government isn’t taking effective action to implement the grizzly bear recovery plan.”

A post on the Sierra Club’s website back in February, 2010 reported that the grizzly bear population in Alberta was low enough to be changed to threatened species status. So it appears they have been correct for quite a while about the situation. One news story stated the total population is 760, but the Alberta government’s grizzly bear status report says it is only 691.

Because of the recent bear deaths combined with the low and dwindling population, the Alberta government announced the species status has been updated to threatened. “Alberta’s grizzly bear population is one of the most threatened in  North America and needs immediate attention to prevent further decline,”  said scientist Jeff Gailus.

Grizzly bear hunting has been banned there for several years. Conservationists have said a ban on hunting might help the bears, but the main threat is destruction of their habitat. Invasion of their living space by the creation of roads for logging and energy development have reduced their ability to sustain themselves. Their habitat is also being encroached upon by residential development.

Alberta’s Sustainable Resource Development agency runs a program called BearSmart. This program is intended to educate the public to reduce human to bear conflict and decrease the number of bears that are killed. Part of the program provides an in-person community assessment by Fish and Wildlife staff. They can visit a community and help determine the chance of bear interactions, and help create a bear education program. Another aspect entails establishing garbage and food management to prevent bears from getting into areas where people are living.

Related:
10 Most Threatened Animal Species
Three Bears Killed After Food Was Left Outdoors
Polar Bear Capital of World Could Lose Its Bears

Image Credit: Parks Canada

85 comments

Michele Wilkinson

Very sad

Michelle Sibinovic
Michelle S.5 years ago

Why doesn't the Canadian government step up to the plate? As a country, Canada is vastly underpopulated in comparison to the United States, yet the toll on animals in that country is astounding! Only 700 grizzly bears left in Alberta!? If was Canadian, and more expressly, an Albertan, I would outraged! Canadian wildlife advocates, raise your voices! Hunters won't put their guns down and developers won't stop building until you do! Arm bears, for heavens sake, before its too late!

David N.
David N.5 years ago

Thanks for the article. It is sad to hear of this happening. We need to do more to protect them and their environment.

Blacktiger P.
Blacktiger P.5 years ago

BEARS KILLED BY TRAINS, TRUCKS, CARS, WHY? BECAUSE THERE IS A 6 LANE HIGHWAY IN BANFF NATIONAL PARK, BANFF CITY IS LARGELY WITHIN THE REACHES OF THE PARK.TWO TRAIN TRACKS FOR TWO COMPANIES. THE HIGHWAY HAS A BRIDGE JUST FOR ELK, BUT THE BEARS MOVE WHERE THEY WISH TO THEIR DANGER. BLACK AND GRIZZLEY BEARS BOTH LIVE THERE.@ JEAN d. CLUBBING BABY SEALS IS NOT WHAT WE WANT AND AS LONG AS PEOPLE WILL BUY THE SKINS THERE WILL BE DEATH BECAUSE THE FISHERY DEPT. CONSIDERS THE RIGHTS OF THE SEAL HUNTERS. GET THE PEOPLE TO STOP BUYING FUR!!!! SAME GOES FOR THE TROPHY HUNTERS WHO TAKE THE BEST OF THE BEST LEAVING THE WEAK TO BREED.

Gita Sasi Dharan
Gita Sasi Dharan5 years ago

Shelley, you have voiced my feelings too.

Deb R.
Past Member 6 years ago

They play an important role in bioidversity.
We need to protect everyone.
I did read of a man in Alberta who shot a grizzly to protect his son. He had a lengthly trial and was aquitted, but at least his crime was taken seriously.

Leslie Filer
Leslie Filer6 years ago

All about bears........its all a bit said at times

Lupe G.
Guadalupe G.6 years ago

Do you know how lucky Alberta is to have such a beautiful & wild environment? Please don't kill the few good things we have left in this world! I was out there a lot & the grizzly was one of the biggest highlights!

Michel P.
Past Member 6 years ago

this is a genocide

gail d.
gail dair6 years ago

thanks for post