Protecting Biodiversity

It is difficult to quantify the value of wilderness.

Human constructions cannot compare to the simple efficiency of the forest's ability to clean our air and water. The vast grasslands of the prairies cycle nutrients from the atmosphere into the earth to provide sustenance to plants and animals. The ice of the North powers a global heat exchange system that drives the winds and ocean currents of the Earth. The wild places of the Earth can teach us more about Nature and ourselves than any human made artifice - but only if they survive our mistakes.

Biodiversity News: Alberta Government Takes First Step to Put Grizzly Bears on the Path to Recovery:
Just before noon MST today, Friday, the Minister of Sustainable Resource Development announced that he is suspending the annual grizzly bear hunt over the next few years while DNA based census data is collected throughout the grizzly bear range in Alberta. He has also released the December 2005 draft recovery plan developed by the multi-stakeholder Grizzly Bear Recovery Team, the external scientific reviews of that plan and the population estimate reports of 2004 and 2005, which were based on DNA census techniques. (All now available on the government website. See also, the government's press release).

However, habitat maps and information from models developed by the grizzly bear study program at the federally and provincially funded Foothills Model Forest still remain out of reach to the public. With the exception of published annual reports, a minimum membership of two years costing a total of $30,000 is required in that public-private entity before access can be gained to that information. There are only about 700 grizzly bears remaining in Alberta throughout a range of about 154,000 square kilometers (59,460 sq. mi.) compared to an historic population of about 10,000 to 16,000 grizzly bears, including the sub-population now extinct from the prairie and parkland regions of the province.

Action alert: please send a short letter or email commending the Honorable David Coutts, Alberta Minister of Sustainable Resource Development for suspending the annual grizzly bear hunt and also releasing the draft recovery plan and the current reports on the grizzly bear numbers. Encourage him to take the next step of listing the grizzly bears as a threatened species under the Alberta Wildlife Act. Lastly, indicate your hope that his department and the Alberta Government will expeditiously implement an effective recovery plan:

The Honourable David Coutts:
Minister of Sustainable Resource Development
420 Legislature Building
10800 - 97 Ave.
Edmonton, AB T5K 2B6
Fax: (780) 415-4818
Phone: 780 415-4815 (Toll free in Alberta by dialing 310-0000 first and then the area code and number.)

Information and Resources

Alberta Wildlands

Northern Great Plains Conservation Project



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