YOU CAN HELP TODAY:
Give the government feedback on the plan!
Want to know our position before you respond? Great, check out our feedback on key areas of the survey here
On June 1, 2016, the Government of Alberta released the Grizzly Bear Draft Recovery Plan. The plan has strengths as it considers connecting our grizzly populations, and implementing education and conflict mitigation strategies in bear country.
However, many areas of the proposed plan raise serious concerns.
Areas of concern:
The grizzly bear habitat on Alberta’s public land is highly fragmented with roads and motorized trails many times greater than research indicates is good for bears. These trails allow people access to habitat areas where there is greater risk for bear conflicts and deaths. It is critical to limit disturbances and provide a safe habitat for recovering grizzly bears. However, by focusing on limits to public roads only and excluding the effects of trails, the new plan actually increases the number of roads and trails that can be built in core grizzly habitat. This is not acceptable.
The plan states that research on the effect of motorized recreation has not been done in Alberta. In the absence of this research, caution is necessary when applying thresholds. Research demonstrates that human conflict with bears, facilitated by motorized access, is the highest risk to bears. Therefore, it should not be assumed that motorized recreational trails into grizzly bear habitat do not increase mortality risk. Rather there should be a focus decommissioning motorized trails and restoring areas to a natural state.
Downgrading Porcupine Hills from ‘Core’ habitat to merely ‘Support’ habitat is troubling. The Porcupine Hills are important for facilitating the movement of bears, and are one of the last vestiges of public grasslands in grizzly bear habitat. Downgrading this area would remove limitations on road and trail densities in the Porcupine Hills, potentially pushing bears onto private lands. This may allow for higher tolerance for deaths and relocations. We already have too many bears being killed in this area by poaching, collisions with vehicles and other conflicts. It is important to retain this area as ‘Core’ habitat in the plan.
The new plan proposes increasing what is acceptable for human-caused mortality rates Bear Management Areas 5 and 6 (Castle, Livingstone, Kananaskis and the Bow Valley). Now that these populations are starting to recover, it is more important than ever to reduce conflicts in these areas for the safety of bears and people. Having a higher tolerance for grizzly bear deaths in this region could prevent addressing critical issues like intense off-highway vehicle (OHV) use and logging in grizzly bear habitat – practices that could displace grizzlies onto private land. The focus should be on supporting communities and ranchers in these areas to reduce conflicts with bears.
Read More about CPAWS Southern Alberta's work to protect the Grizzly here
What can you do?
Provide your input! Here are a few points you may use to provide your feedback:
It’s important to provide a safe habitat for grizzlies away from people. The new plan could allow for more roads and trails in core grizzly bear areas. Motorized recreation trails should be included in measurements of public access into grizzly habitat.
The Porcupine Hills must remain as a ‘Core’ habitat area and not be downgraded to merely a ‘Support’ habitat is as this area facilitates the movement of bears.
Increasing the human-caused mortality rates for grizzly bears in southern Alberta is not acceptable.
It’s important that the Government works with communities and landowners to minimize human-bear conflicts.
Facilitating bear movement across major Highways is an important step for maintain connected populations.
Read CPAWS letter to Hon. Shannon Phillips, Minister, Environment and Parks, in response to the draft Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan. Read the letter HERE.
Ways you can help:
1. Send your comments and concerns to Hon. Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks at firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Contact your MLA at 310-0000.
Make sure the Government knows you care about this important species.
Thank you for taking action on behalf of Alberta’s grizzlies.
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