Will forthcoming Alberta grizzly plan stop the bears' nosedive?

Biologists push for action on grizzly plan. Bear population continues in decline despite 2002 warning in report.
Darcy Henton, The Edmonton Journal.

Perhaps only 500 grizzlies are left in this vast province, fewer than the Bob Marshall/Glacier National Park grizzly recovery area* just to the south of Alberta.


*Officially named the Northern Continental Divide recovery area.





  1. Monty Avatar

    Baniff, Jasper, Kootenay & Yoho National Parks comprise about 8 million acres of contiguous land where I assume Wildlife” have the right-of-way. In addition, there are several million acres of adjacent Canadian “forest preserves”. Contrast this with the Glacier NP & Bob Marshall Wilderness complex that is no more than 4 million acres with a relatively healthy grizzly bear population.

    My question is why are the Canadian grizzlies under such pressure when their potential land base is twice or greater than what is available in the US?

  2. Jeff Gailus Avatar
    Jeff Gailus


    Sadly, you are sadly mistaken about the state of grizzly bears in the Rocky Mountain national parks and the rest of Alberta. The Canadian Rocky Mountain National Parks complex may be bigger than the protected areas in the NCDE, but grizzly bear density is much lower (because the habitat is much less productive), and human-caused mortality is much higher (because of highways, railways, and habituation).

    Consider: There are more grizzlies in either the Yellowstone or the NCDE recovery zones than there are in all of Alberta. The protected areas you mention “protect” fewer than 200 grizzly bears, compared to 600+ in Yellowstone and ~700 in the NCDE. In Alberta, there are fewer than 500 grizzlies in the 230,000 sq. km. recovery zone. Why? The “forest reserves” are criss-crossed by roads, roads, roads at densities that are far, far higher than density thresholds that provide adequate habitat security. And this small “population” has been fragmented into even smaller (>100) subpopulation units by east-west highways and the ruggedness of the continental divide.

    And Alberta’s so-called current recovery plan wouldn’t pass the laugh test in front of the U.S. ESA and the U.S. Supreme Court.


  3. Monty Avatar

    Jeff. I wasn’t suggesting that the Canadian bear population are in good condition but asking why there were fewer bears. And you answered the question. thanks.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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