Canada conservationists push back as grizzly hunting ban lifted

Grizzly bears. Canada has partially reversed a nearly two-decade ban on hunting grizzly bears in Alberta

A decision to partially reverse a nearly two-decade ban on hunting grizzly bears in Canada’s Alberta has angered environmentalists, with a group saying Wednesday they feared its impact on the species, reported.

Hunting of the mammals, listed as threatened in 2010 by the western Alberta province, had been prohibited for 18 years—leading to growth in the population of grizzlies.

But there has also been conflict between bears and humans, Alberta authorities say.

The number of grizzlies has increased from 800 to more than 1,150 today, provincial authorities say, and that has caused them to move to more populated rural areas.

“Hunting is not an acceptable management approach for a threatened species,” said Devon Earl of the Alberta Wilderness Association.

“Grizzly bears have a very slow reproductive rate, and trophy hunting could undo all the recovery of the last decade,” she added.

The province’s government last month quietly moved to allow the hunting of individual bears deemed a “problem.”

Authorities say 104 attacks by black or grizzly bears were recorded from 2000 to 2021.

However, Earl said that other “science-based approaches” can help reduce wildlife conflict.

She cited an example in southern Alberta which worked by “securing attractants on agricultural lands and putting in electric fences… to prevent bears from being attracted to coming onto people’s property in the first place.”