Protect Alberta’s Grizzly Bears

2024 Update: Alberta Government Lifts Grizzly Bear Hunting Ban

Since the release of our Documentary, In the Crosshairs: The Road to Recovery for Alberta’s Threatened Grizzly Bears, it is with heavy hearts that we bring this update to you.

Alberta's government has ever so quietly lifted a nearly 20-year ban on hunting threatened grizzly bears, permitting targeted hunts for bears involved in human-bear conflicts or designated "areas of concern."

Under the new regulations, Alberta’s Ministry of Forestry and Parks has the authority to issue Grizzly Bear Management Authorizations for hunting. These authorizations can be granted if wildlife officers determine that a bear is involved in human-bear conflicts or poses a concern in a specific area. This approach raises serious questions about the balance between bear conservation and the interests of a few individuals.

Exposed Wildlife Conservancy Co-Founder, Kim Odland, comments on the decision:

Not only is this decision not based on any science, it's a blatant attempt to completely ignore the
science and actually circumvent the Government's own experts and biologists. It  appears to be
a direct move by the Minister alone, to quietly give his friends, business associates and fellow
trophy hunters an opportunity to "legally" kill a Grizzly. This is politics at its' very worst.

Dr. Sarah Elmeligi, an independent grizzly bear biologist who worked in Alberta before becoming an MLA, highlights the deficiencies in Alberta's 2020 Grizzly Bear Recovery plan:

“The Alberta Government has chosen to govern endangered species almost entirely by policy and the use of discretionary power virtually entirely within the Minister’s hands...meaning there are few laws holding the government accountable to actually recover species at risk.”

We must advocate more than ever for decision-making processes that emphasize science, data, and environmental considerations. Upholding these principles is crucial for the responsible management of our natural resources and ecosystems.

How You Can Help

We are working to ensure a viable future for Alberta’s grizzly bears and we need your help.

Respect and Protect T-Shirt

A limited-edition graphic t-shirt to run alongside our Alberta grizzlies campaign. Show your support of Alberta grizzlies every day and help fund our efforts!

Buy a T-Shirt

Write A Letter

The Alberta Wilderness Association has an pre-filled letter calling for an immediate stop to the grizzly bear hunt in Alberta. It only takes a few moments to fill, sign, and send your letter and share your voice on behalf of grizzly bears. This letter is directed to Minister of Forestry and Parks Todd Loewen.

Send Your Letter

Learn About Grizzly Bears

Bears are in many parts of Alberta, including the Peace region, Swan Hills, and from Grande Prairie south to Waterton along the Rocky Mountain eastern front out into the foothills regions. Learn more about grizzly bears, including how to coexist with them by heading to our free educational library.

Learn About Grizzlies

In the Crosshairs

The Road to Recovery for Alberta’s Threatened Grizzly Bears

Discover more about grizzly bear recovery in Alberta by viewing the 2022 documentary you supported, In The Crosshairs, which remains relevant in 2024. This documentary was made in collaboration with the Grizzly Bear Foundation to bring you the most recent science-based research with stunning visual footage and photographs to tell the story of the past, present, and future of grizzly bear recovery in Alberta. The film, which you can view above, explores hunting, habitat loss, and coexistence issues, delving into the latest population estimates and the very real threat of a grizzly bear trophy hunt returning to the province.

A History of Grizzly Hunting In Alberta

Grizzly bears have been classified as a Threatened species in Alberta since 2010, yet the provincial government is failing to take action to ensure their continued recovery.

The Northwestern grizzly bear population was listed as a species of Special Concern but had no federal protections under the Species at Risk Act


A draft grizzly bear recovery plan was completed.


The grizzly bear hunt was discontinued.


The grizzly bear recovery plan was accepted by the Minister of Sustainable Resource Development.


Alberta classified grizzly bears as ‘Threatened’ under the Alberta Wildlife Act.


The western population of grizzly bears was designated as a Species of Special Concern under Canada’s Species at Risk Act.


A revised Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan was put into place.

October, 2023

Paul Frame, a carnivore specialist with Alberta Forestry and Parks, stated that “reinstating the grizzly hunt isn’t being considered by the province” as only 52% of the province’s grizzly bears are at mature or breeding-age.

June 18th, 2024

The Government of Alberta amended the Wildlife Act under a Ministerial order to reintroduce the grizzly bear hunt. This was done without public consultation and without notifying the Grizzly Bear Recovery committee. It was also contrary to provincial bear biologist recommendations. The grizzly bear hunt amendments were effective immediately, however, the amendments were not publicly announced or released to the press. Rather, they were quietly published in the Alberta Gazette on page 316 on June 29th, 2024, the Saturday of the Canada Day long weekend.

July 5th, 2024

An associate of Alberta NDP MLA Sarah Elmeligi noticed the amendment reintroducing the Alberta grizzly bear hunt. Elmeligi alerted the Alberta Wilderness Association, who alerted the Exposed Wildlife Conservancy.

July 9th, 2024

At 8:00 am MST, Exposed Wildlife Conservancy and Alberta Wilderness Association released a public press release, bringing public awareness to the reintroduction of the grizzly bear hunt. 

July 9th, 2024

At 2:13 pm MST the Government of Alberta issues a public press release speaking on their decision to reintroduce the Alberta grizzly bear hunt.

Why Conservation Efforts Are Crucial

The Low Reproduction Rate of Grizzly Bears Explained

Grizzly bears in North America face a notably low reproductive rate compared to other North American land mammals. Females typically start reproducing between the ages of 5 and 8, and they may only give birth every 4 to 5 years. Cubs remain with their mothers for over three years, during which they learn essential survival skills such as foraging for food and finding shelter.

The slow reproductive rate means that the death of a grizzly bear, especially an adult female, can have severe consequences for the population.

Recovery from such losses can take several years, as it is challenging for the population to rebound quickly due to their long intervals between births and the extended period of maternal care. This slow reproductive cycle makes grizzly bears particularly vulnerable to threats, highlighting the critical need for effective conservation efforts to ensure their survival.

Learn More About Grizzlies

Letters for Nakoda

The Sixth breeding female to die in 4 years.

On June 8, 2024, Canada lost one of its most beloved grizzly bears, Nakoda, the sixth breeding female to die in four years. She and her two cubs were tragically struck and killed by vehicles on the Trans-Canada Highway in Yoho National Park. This loss reflects a troubling pattern of grizzly bear deaths due to human activities, similar to the fates of Nakoda’s sister and mother years earlier.

If the Alberta Grizzly Hunt had been reinstated before Nakoda’s death, it could have worsened her situation by targeting bears under the guise of conflict management instead of focusing on preventing vehicle collisions. This policy shift risks further endangering grizzly populations in our national parks.

We are nearing 3,000 letters sent! We need your help now more than ever to honor Nakoda’s memory and advocate for all grizzly bears just like her as this regulation comes into effect.

Send your pre-written letter!

Additional Information

Safeguarding Canada’s grizzly bear population

Grizzly bears once roamed widely across Alberta and eastward through the plains of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Centuries of habitat loss and persecution by European settlers led to the dramatic decline in the size and distribution of grizzly bear populations across North America. Today, grizzly bears have primarily been extirpated from the prairies, and in Alberta are found solely in the Rocky Mountain and Foothills regions at the province’s western fringe.

With the release of new research in 2020, Alberta now has science-based population estimates for all 7 of the province’s bear management units. The data shows that Alberta’s grizzly bear population has increased from approximately 700 in 2010 to somewhere between 856 and 973 bears today.

This success has resulted from decades of conservation efforts, most notably the government’s decision to end the licensed grizzly bear hunt in 2006. But the road to recovery is far from over and it is plausible that the government may use this data to justify bringing back the hunt.

Grizzly bears are iconic symbols of the wild. They represent an important part of the cultural identity of Albertans.  As a conservation umbrella species, their protection is critical to maintaining the biodiversity of our ecosystems across the wide landscapes they roam.

Please join us as we work to recover Alberta's grizzlies together.

Quick Facts

The Grizzly Bear hunt ended in Alberta in 2006.

In Alberta, most known grizzly bear mortalities are caused by humans. 

Grizzly bears in Alberta are divided into 7 Bear Management Areas (BMAs).

The latest research estimates that there are somewhere between 856 and 973 bears in Alberta.

Grizzly Bears were classified as a Threatened Species in Alberta in 2010 under the provincial Wildlife Act.

In 2018, there were 23 recorded grizzly bear mortalities. At least 20 of those deaths were attributable to human causes.

The primary sources of human caused mortality in Alberta are poaching, vehicle collisions, self-defense kills, and black bear hunters misidentifying bears.  

From 2009-2018, a total of 227 grizzly bear mortalities were recorded. That’s about 23 deaths per year. Of those 227, 208 (92%) are known to be human caused.

In 2012, the western population (including Alberta’s grizzlies) was federally designated as a Species of Special Concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).

The first draft of a 5 year Recovery Plan was completed in 2008, and was accepted by the Minister for implementation. In 2010, an updated status assessment was completed, ultimately resulting in the formal designation of ‘Threatened’ for the species. Alberta’s Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan was updated in 2016, and again in 2020.

National Status: In 2018 the western population of grizzly bears was designated as a species of Special Concern under Canada’s Species at Risk Act.

A later revision to the Recovery Plan (dated July 1, 2020) was released in early 2021 but remains substantially the same as the 2016 draft.

Learn More



Intolerable Cruelty: The Truth Behind Killing Neck Snares and Strychnine

by Dr. Gilbert Proulx:


Recovering Alberta’s Grizzly Bears – Next Steps for Success
A report by expert bear biologist Dr. Sarah Elmeligi
Government of Alberta: Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan
Information on the Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan
Nakoda's Letter
A Call to Action to Improve Road Safety for Wildlife
Petition to the Government of Canada
To Improve Road Safety for Wildlife
Alberta Quietly Lifts Grizzly Bear Hunting Ban
Press Release from EWC and Alberta Wilderness Association
Stoney Nakoda Nations Cultural Assessment
Enhancing grizzly bear management programs through traditional ecological knowledge