Speak up for B.E.A.R.S. in Alberta!
** Remember, letters that have been personally written are a lot more effective in getting the attention of politicians. We encourage you to use the information to write your own letter or add your own comments to the sample letter to give it that personal touch. They do not need to be long, one or two paragraphs will suffice. Our goal is 100 personalized letters for each action alert. Help make it happen!
Alberta’s grizzly bear population is one of the most threatened in North America. Scientist estimate fewer than 500 remain. The government must act now to ensure the long-term survival of this species. With your help we are calling on the provincial government to take immediate action on the five fundamentals known as:
The B.E.A.R.S. Essentials for Recovery
Budget dedicated to recovery
Endangered species listing
Action on habitat
Reduce conflict and human caused mortality
Science based recovery team
Budget dedicated for recovery:
There is no indication that any funds have been dedicated for grizzly bear recovery for the 2009/2010 fiscal year. The government boasts they spent $1.75 million on grizzly bear management in 2008 but do not indicate where that money was spent and how much of it was allocated to recovery efforts and not just ongoing grizzly bear management.
Endangered species listing:
In 2002, Alberta’s Endangered Species Conservation Committee recommended listing the grizzly as Threatened under the Alberta Wildlife Act. The government has never accepted this recommendation. According to Alberta’s Strategy for the Management of Species at Risk, the ultimate goal of formally listing a species as Threatened or Endangered is to facilitate management and recovery efforts necessary to restore viable populations. Internationally accepted guidelines (IUCN) stipulate a population should be listed as Threatened when there are fewer than 1000 breeding adults and Endangered when there are fewer than 250.
Action on habitat:
For grizzly bears the road to recovery is not a road… or a railway, seismic line or any other linear disturbance that fragments the landscape and facilitates human activity in prime bear habitat. In fact, 89% of human caused grizzly bear mortalities occur within 500m of a road. The government has mapped core grizzly habitat but they have not taken any on-the-ground measures to increase parks and protected areas or reduce road density levels. According to the precautionary principle, outlined in the Recovery Plan, recovery action must not be delayed. The government process currently underway to address access management is taking far too long. The longer recovery efforts are delayed, there will likely be further degredation of the habitat this process is intended to protect.
Reduce conflict and human caused mortalities:
Humans account for over 90% of known grizzly bear deaths in Alberta. According to data recently released by the Albert Government, last year saw an unsustainable number of grizzly bears die by the hands of humans. There were 19 confirmed human caused mortalities and 15 grizzly bears relocated in 2008. According to the Alberta Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan (2008-2013) 30% - 50% of grizzly bear mortalities go unreported and relocated bears suffer a 30% increase in mortality. This means Alberta may have lost an estimated 28 – 34 grizzlies in 2008.
Education and conflict prevention will play a critical role in recovering the grizzly. Programs such as Bearsmart have great potential but they have been left largely up to communities and individuals to implement. Although communities do need to take an active role in conflict prevention, managing Alberta’s wildlife is the government’s responsibility and they must take a lead role by fully funding and staffing these programs.
Science Based Recovery Team:
In 2003, a Grizzly Bear Recovery Team was formed to draft a recovery plan. After the draft was submitted, it was three years before the government reviewed the plan and released it to the public. Then, only three months later, to the surprise of team members and conservation community, the recovery team was disbanded by the Minister for Sustainable Resource Development. This despite their role to monitor progress on recovery and adjust the recovery plan where needed in order to meet recovery objectives. At such a critical time for grizzly bears, a science-based recovery team is crucial to monitor, evaluate and provide expert direction for recovery.
More background information
Press release regarding 2008 grizzly bear mortality (02/02/2009)