This 30-minute documentary brings together 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 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.
With a population estimate still well below the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s criteria for threatened status, Alberta’s grizzlies remain a species at risk. The combined impacts of habitat loss, food security and coexistence challenges continue to put enormous pressure on recovering grizzly bear populations.
In the midst of climate and biodiversity crises, we can’t afford to fall behind on grizzly bear recovery.
Through storytelling and advocacy, we aim to raise public awareness on the status of grizzlies in Alberta and influence the provincial government to implement their Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan and commit to a continued ban on grizzly bear hunting in the province.
Please join us as we work to recover Alberta's grizzlies together.
You can take action by writing a letter to your Alberta MLA and the Alberta Minister of Environment and Parks using this simple form letter/email, by donating to EXPOSED, or by sharing our social media content with your friends and family. Thank you!
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!
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. Grizzly bears once roamed widely across Alberta and eastward through the plains of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. 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 2021, 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 we worry the government will 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.
Grizzly Bears were classified as a Threatened Species in Alberta in 2010 under the provincial Wildlife Act.
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 Grizzly Bear hunt ended in Alberta in 2006.
The latest research estimates that there are somewhere between 856 and 973 bears in Alberta.
Grizzly bears in Alberta are divided into 7 Bear Management Areas (BMAs).
In Alberta, most known grizzly bear mortalities are caused by humans.
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 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.
“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.
New research data released in March 2021 showing an increase in Alberta's grizzly populations are cause for hope, but the road to recovery is far from over.
For the “Enhancing grizzly bear management programs through the inclusion of cultural monitoring and traditional ecological knowledge.”