South Peace News
Are there more grizzly bears in Alberta than we think?
The M.D. of Greenview thinks so and wants the Government of Alberta to pay for a study to find out.
The M.D. of Smoky River was sent a letter from Greenview Jan. 11 and considered it at their Feb. 9 meeting.
Recent sightings suggest there may be merit to the M.D. of Greenview’s claim. Jean Cote Councillor Andre Trudeau told council he saw a grizzly on one of his trapline cameras and Falher Councillor Gilles Roy added one was recently sighted six miles south of Donnelly Corner.
Greenview Reeve Tyler Olsen wrote Smoky River telling them Greenview was part of Bear Management Area 2 [BMA 2] and BMA 7. He wrote BMA 7 included Swan Hills where a 2018 study suggested a population of 62 grizzlies but added a study with “higher precision” was needed. The number put the estimated population of 12.6 grizzlies per 1,000 square kms.
BMA 2 includes Grande Cache, which was last surveyed in 2008. The survey estimated 271 grizzlies at a density of 18.11 bears per 1,000 square kms with most bears concentrated in the Wilmore/Kakwa regions.
Olsen fears grizzly populations are rising which may affect residents.
“With the range of an adult male grizzly bear being 1,800 square kms, the proximity of ranches in the Grovedale and Grande Cache areas increases the potential for conflicts,” he wrote.
“As populations appear to have rebounded in other BMAs, Greenview requests the Alberta government update grizzly population estimates for BMA 2 and reassess with increased precision in BMA 7.”
He added grizzly signings have increased in Greenview.
“The development of a Provincial Grizzly Mitigation Plan needs to be prioritized to address the safety of rural residents and inform agricultural producers as to what they can do to protect their livelihoods, potentially reducing wildlife conflicts,” he wrote.
Smoky River council took no action on Greenview’s request for a study.