Alberta Looking At Updating Grizzly Plan

Alberta News, Bear Hunting Magazine

Alberta is looking to update its grizzly bear recovery strategy. Part of the major debate revolves around whether to resume a grizzly bear hunt for at least problem bears in the southwestern part of the province.

The Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan 2008-2013 was implemented after studies said there were fewer than 700 grizzlies left in Alberta leading them to declare the species threatened. But, now the population in southwestern Alberta appears to be healthy.

Experts suggest the numbers in southern Alberta are higher than initially thought as it seems grizzlies from Montana and British Columbia move freely throughout the area. Recent statistics show there are about 1,100 bears in the area that includes southwestern Alberta, British Columbia’s Flathead and northern Montana.

With conflicts between bears and humans on the rise, the debate on how to best manage the situation is now underway. Ranchers in the area want to see the hunt resumed to be able to deal with the problem grizzlies. Because of the current laws, it is hard for the Fish and Wildlife officers to deal with grizzlies causing issues.

Officials are hoping to have a revision to the plan ready and operational by early 2014. Although they do not anticipate any major changes, it will reflect a lot of new information and research that has come in since that last recovery plan was developed. And with this new information, the possibility of a hunt could be considered if the conditions laid out in the plan are met. This may include an active program to reduce conflicts between grizzlies and humans, as well as a way to reduce human-caused grizzly deaths. In 2012, 15 grizzly bears were killed by poachers, motorists and landowners across Alberta.

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