Report suggests grizzlies will not survive on Prairies

CALGARY — A federal report that suggests there’s no chance grizzly bears that once roamed the tall grass of the Prairies can be recovered in the region sends a sobering warning, says a group that is trying to protect the bruins.

CALGARY — A federal report that suggests there’s no chance grizzly bears that once roamed the tall grass of the Prairies can be recovered in the region sends a sobering warning, says a group that is trying to protect the bruins.

The Environment Canada report compiled under the Species at Risk Act says the landscape of the southern Prairies has irreversibly changed since the bears’ range stretched as far east as Manitoba hundreds of years ago.

Where bears once lived amongst wild bison and flowing grasslands, people and roads are now packed tightly around agricultural fields, leaving little land where modern grizzlies could survive.

“It highlights a rather tragic reality that once a species is lost, more often than not it’s lost forever,” Carl Morrison of the group Action Grizzly Bear said Monday.

Grizzlies are considered extirpated, or extinct within a certain region, in a Prairie zone that stretches from just east of Winnipeg, up over top of Saskatoon and Edmonton and just west of Calgary.

Anecdotal information from early European settlers suggest that bears were once fairly plentiful, but “grizzly bears were rarely seen on the Canadian Prairies after 1900,” according to the report, which was released late last month.

“Recovery of this species is considered not technically or biologically feasible at this time,” it concludes.

Modern-day grizzlies mainly live in an area from the Rocky Mountain foothills stretching north.

Without stronger protection, their range could become even smaller, said Morrison. Some sources suggest as few as 500 bears could be left in Alberta.

“The report concludes that we can’t recover the Prairie population of grizzly bears, so in order to maintain healthy and viable populations of grizzly bears in Canada we need to focus on areas where they still exist,” he said.

“If we don’t want this trend to continue … then the government of Alberta needs to take some action to make sure that it stops here.”

Morrison said the Alberta government needs to immediately list the bears as threatened, something that was recommended by a government group in 2002 when their numbers slipped below 1,000.

The government has been waiting for the result of a four-year-long DNA count of the bruins before making a decision, said spokesman Dave Ealey.

That report should be released very soon, he said.

“A large part of the rationale for it being looked at as threatened is doubt about the population numbers,” he said.

The count could also affect a decision on whether to lift a temporary moratorium on hunting the bears in the province, something Sustainable Resource Minister Ted Morton has said would be decided by the end of the year.

The government has taken action on protecting the remaining bears in the province, including through initiatives aimed at reducing human-bear interactions, said Ealey.

Just Posted

Bringing music to Red Deer for 50 years

The Red Deer Community Band Society has been bringing music to the… Continue reading

Guards injured, money stolen, during overnight blast at Edmonton bank

EDMONTON — Two security guards have been injured in an explosion that… Continue reading

Pot stores on agenda at Toronto city council after two municipalities opt out

TORONTO — Councillors in Toronto are set to debate whether to allow… Continue reading

Police believe body found near Mexican resort is missing Quebec woman

MONTREAL — Mexican authorities have found the body of a woman near… Continue reading

WATCH: CP Holiday Train rolls into Lacombe

Kelly Prescott performed for hundreds of Central Albertans

Sex assault trial for former gymnastics coach resumes in Sarnia

SARNIA, Ont. — The trial of a former high-ranking gymnastics coach accused… Continue reading

Victims of former ski coach Charest say they were ‘sacrificed’ by Alpine Canada

MONTREAL — A lawsuit filed Wednesday against Alpine Canada by three victims… Continue reading

Emily Blunt on the ‘daunting’ task of playing Mary Poppins

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Emily Blunt loves a challenge, and in the… Continue reading

Tommy Chong says Canada’s weed legalization has kept ‘underground market alive’

TORONTO — Tommy Chong has a pass, man. While some Canadians who… Continue reading

Apple deepens Austin ties, expands operations east and west

AUSTIN, Texas — Apple will build a $1 billion campus in Austin,… Continue reading

Trump comments upend U.S. approach to Huawei, trade talks

WASHINGTON — The United States and China have taken pains this week… Continue reading

WATCH: CP Holiday Train rolls into Lacombe

Kelly Prescott performed for hundreds of Central Albertans

Dumba scores twice, Wild rout Canadiens 7-1

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Reeling and banged up, the Minnesota Wild were… Continue reading

Most Read