Will they become a Canadian threatened species?
To many Americans, Canada is still the “great white north” where multitudes of wildlife live in wilderness and “tree huggers” silly enough to want to see a bear or a wolf can go a see one behind almost every tree.
The reality is massive development, and especially in Alberta which has become essentially a petro-state.
Alberta’s government seems to sort of be moving toward more protection such as a permanent cancellation of the annual grizzly bear hunt against the strong resistance of some hunting groups.
A recent 5-year study that included most of Alberta (not its far north or Jasper and Banff*) using the most effect method — DNA analysis of bear fur — found only 581 bears. They had expected about a thousand. This is fewer than Montana’s grizzly population in and around Glacier National Park and adjacent Wilderness areas and backcountry.
The Alberta grizzly might be put on the Canadian threatened species list.
Here are a couple stories from the last few days.
- Grizzly population about 580. By Archie Mclean, edmontonjournal.com
- Alberta’s grizzly hunt decision a year off. By Kelly Cryderman, Calgary Herald (in the Vancouver Sun)
- Editorial. Protect the grizzlies. Calgary Herald September 20, 2009
While many think of these two national parks as a stronghold of the grizzly, there are not large populations there because their rugged nature means most of the Parks are not good bear habitat. Moreover, the biologically production areas are often filled with highways, towns, resorts, and railroads.