The government of Alberta is taking action to safeguard the lives and livelihoods of Albertans against problem wildlife, such as grizzly bears.

So far in 2024, there has been a notable increase in reports of problematic and dangerous grizzly-human and grizzly-animal interactions, along with agricultural losses due to elk foraging.

"As Alberta’s grizzly bear and elk populations continue to grow in numbers and expand their territories, negative interactions have increased in both severity and frequency," stated the province. "Recent conflicts between grizzly bears and humans have been predatory in nature and have not been related to the protection of cubs or food sources. Additionally, agricultural losses due to elk foraging on crops are increasing across the province, and this problem requires additional tools to manage growing elk herds in Alberta."

To protect Alberta families and communities, visitors, and agricultural producers, Alberta’s government is taking action on problem grizzlies responsible for the increasing number of negative interactions.

"Alberta’s government is announcing a multi-pronged approach to solving the issue of problem and dangerous wildlife by offering a range of management tools to address challenges and keep Albertans safe."

In an effort to prevent grizzly bear attacks on people and livestock that can be lethal, the government of Alberta is building a new network of wildlife management responders. Upon identification of a problematic species such as an elk or grizzly, participants in the authorized network will assist in facilitating prompt conflict resolution procedures throughout the entirety of Alberta.

This reaction can involve locating and euthanizing a problematic animal while adhering to all existing laws and guidelines. This is a precautionary step to protect people and animals, not a bear hunt.

“The loss of even one human life because of a grizzly bear attack is one too many. We are taking a proactive approach to help Albertans co-exist with wildlife through our new wildlife management program. These changes demonstrate our commitment to ensuring Albertans can safely work and recreate throughout the province,” stated Todd Loewen, Minister of Forestry and Parks.

The government of Alberta continues to support educational programs aimed at averting conflicts between people and wildlife in addition to the network of wildlife management responders. $100,000 has been awarded to the Community Bear Smart Grant Program to support local groups in their efforts to inform Albertans about bear safety.

Another way to limit negative human-grizzly interactions is to restore important habitats for a range of species, providing the space and food they need. Last year, extensive habitat enhancement work took place as part of improvements in Kananaskis parks and campgrounds, with additional projects underway.

Albertans interested in joining the network of wildlife management responders are invited to apply through the AlbertaRELM online licensing and draw applications system.

Grizzly Bear numbers have increased from approximately 800 to more than 1,150 now, causing them to move into more populated rural areas.

Sarah Elmeligi, Alberta NDP Critic for Environment and Tourism stated killing grizzly bears does not reduce human-bear conflict and does not solve the problem.

"Human use management on the landscape like the livestock compensation program, subsidies for electric fencing, attractant management on public and private land, and better education, are the things that actually reduce conflict. These programs should be amplified across the province to reduce conflict at its source. Killing bears doesn’t reduce conflict, it reduces populations. How can that be acceptable when at the same time we are committed to recovering the population? Again, a UCP Minister is choosing to serve himself and his friends rather than Albertans who have spoken in support of grizzly bear recovery time and time again. "

She finished off by asking the minister to strike the new regulation.

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