Today the Alberta Government’s Endangered Species Conservation Committee will meet to discuss the status of the Alberta population of Grizzly bears which now number under 700. The ESCC advises the Minister of Sustainable Resource Development on matters relating to the identification, conservation and recovery of wild species at risk in Alberta. As far back as 2002, when the grizzly population numbered about 1000, the ESCC recommended that Grizzlies recieve threatened status, but the government ignored that advice and allowed the hunt to continue until 2006.
The Alberta Wilderness Association has been advocating for the bears, and takes the following position:
* The grizzly must be deignated a threatened species under the Alberta Wildlife Act, as recommended by the province’s Endangered Species Conservation Committee in 2002.
* The provincial government needs to reaffirm its commitment to recovering grizzlies, rather than just maintaining the current threatened population. This will require a dedicated budget for grizzly recovery.
* Ultimately, the only thing that will recover grizzlies in the long term is protection of secure habitat. There is an urgent need for legislated protection of core areas of grizzly habitat. In other areas, human access into grizzly habitat needs to be restricted.
* Human-caused mortality of grizzlies needs to be reduced. This needs to be a comprehensive program, including a combination of access management, comprehensive and funded Bearsmart programs, and hunter education.
In order to draw public attention to the plight of the Grizzly, the AWA recently launched a new satirical website, No More Grizzlies, a video game that allows players to hunt with a variety of unusual weapons…
The Minister of Sustainable Resource Development has suspended the hunt for 2010. Will he take the next step and recognize the grizzly as threatened or will the grizzly issue join the oil sands as evidence of Alberta’s poor environmental record? This is the Year of Biodiversity: let’s see the Alberta Government do the right thing and protect these iconic representatives of our wild places.
See this pdf for the latest 2010 report on the status of the Grizzly Bear in Alberta.
See the latest news at the Calgary Herald
- Alberta Biodiversity and Stewardship
- The Alberta Wilderness Association
- The Sierra Club of Canada
- Canadian Parks and Wilderness
- Action Grizzly Bear