Alberta grizzly bears

Grizzly bears are listed as a Species of Special Concern in Canada but have no federal protections under the Species at Risk Act.

Grizzly bears were classified as Threatened by the Government of Alberta in 2010, largely due to the population size, human caused mortality rates and questionable habitat quality. At that time there were an estimated 700 to 800 grizzly bears in Alberta.

Read the Alberta grizzly bear status report:

Grizzlies are found in the foothills, mountains and boreal regions of the province. Their current range includes areas in or near the Rocky Mountains and in some boreal forest areas of north-central and north-western Alberta. The Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan for Alberta creates zones that define recovery areas and priorities.

Threats to grizzly bears

The primary sources of human caused grizzly bear mortality in Alberta are:

  • accidental collisions with highway vehicles or trains
  • human-bear conflicts
  • poaching

Grizzly bears searching for food can be attracted to human settlements and agricultural areas, greatly increasing the potential for human-bear conflict.

Bears that come into conflict are at increased risk of being killed or trapped and relocated. The annual rate of conflict has been increasing in some areas of the province likely due to recovering grizzly populations.

Alberta Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan

Recovery plans include an analysis of species’ distribution and population trends, threats and conservation actions. They also outline goals, objectives, associated broader strategies and specific priority actions required to maintain or recover threatened or endangered species.

Implementation of each recovery plan is subject to the availability of resources, from within and from outside government.

Early grizzly bear recovery efforts included:

  • strategies for monitoring of bear populations
  • reducing human-caused mortality, access management
  • managing unnatural food attractants
  • growing outreach and education programs like the Alberta BearSmart Program

Updates on these early recovery activities can be found on the Open Government Portal at:

Ongoing grizzly bear recovery efforts build on early work and experience gained during recovery plan implementation. This ongoing work aims to reduce human caused grizzly bear mortality and reduce conflicts by:

  • improving management of unnatural food attractants;
  • maintaining grizzly bear access to secure (low risk of mortality) habitat
  • continuing to support the Alberta BearSmart Program

Two key changes in recent grizzly bear recovery activities are:

  • new zones that clearly define where the Government of Alberta intends to recover grizzly bears and what the grizzly bear management priorities are for each zone (example: public safety, conflict reduction)
  • setting clear thresholds for the concentration of roads open to public motorized access to reduce the level of human-caused grizzly bear mortality in the grizzly bear management areas

The Alberta Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan can be found on the Open Government Portal at: