Save Alberta's Grizzlies!
CALGARY - Alberta's grizzly bears are in jeopardy and the province needs to do more to protect the dwindling bruin population, warns a new report.
The study -- released Friday by a coalition of conservation groups -- said the decline is mostly the result of contact with humans.
New roads built to support the energy and forestry industries are invading bear habitats in remote areas of the province, shrinking the area where the animals can roam and breed, argues scientist and report author Jeff Gailus.
The report, titled, "A Grizzly Challenge," was put out by a coalition of seven conservation groups, including the David Suzuki Foundation, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and Sierra Club Canada.
EDMONTON—If Alberta keeps building roads into remote regions where its few remaining grizzly bears live, the bruins will be on a path to oblivion, conservationists warn in a report released Friday.
“It’s pretty much as simple as that. If we can do a better job of managing access in grizzly bear habitat, then we can manage grizzly bears in Alberta,” Nigel Douglas, conservation specialist with the Alberta Wilderness Association, said in an interview.
The report, titled, “A Grizzly Challenge” and drafted with input from such groups as the Alberta Wilderness Association, the Sierra Club of Canada and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, pegs the number of grizzlies in the province at 760.
But it says that figure could easily triple in years to come if provincial officials merely implement recommendations already presented to them by experts.
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Thank you for submitting a letter to the Editor of your local paper. The Letters to the Editor page is the most read page in the newspaper. Submitting a letter is an effective and important way to voice your support for grizzly bear recovery in Alberta.
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Even with a provincial grizzly bear hunt moratorium in place, people are responsible for most of the deaths of the powerful predators, according to Alberta government data.
Seventeen Alberta grizzlies died as a result of human actions, out of 21 known grizzly deaths in 2009, says a provincial government bear mortality chart.
Alberta's grizzly bear hunt was cancelled four years ago, but the provincial chart shows how grizzly bears continue to perish. For instance, six grizzlies were poached last year, three were mistaken by hunters for black bears and shot, and five were killed in human-related accidents, such as being hit by a car.
Since 2000, there have been 221 human-caused grizzly mortalities.
Sierra Club Canada grizzly campaigner Carl Morrison said many instances of poaching may not show up in the government statistics.... Read more »
New statistics that show 17 grizzlies died last year as a result of interaction with humans trumpet the need to quickly designate grizzlies as a threatened species, say biologists and conservation groups.
"The No. 1 cause of grizzly bear mortality is obviously people," said Carl Morrison of Sierra Club Canada.
"It's confusing why there continues to be a government delay."
He said the high mortality could have been avoided if the government had implemented key aspects of a grizzly bear recovery program it adopted two years ago.
The province now estimates there are less than 700 grizzlies in the province and less than 360 breeding adults.
Since the Alberta Endangered Species Conservation Committee first recommended grizzlies be listed as threatened in 2002, 159 grizzlies have died in human-bear encounters.... Read more »