About the Long Distance Grizzly Relocation Project
The goal of this project is to monitor the success rates of grizzly bears that have been relocated over long distances.
Why are Grizzly Bears Relocated into New Ranges?
In some cases, the Government of Alberta captures grizzly bears that have been involved in conflict situations and moves them out of their home range and into a new Bear Management Area. These are typically circumstances where the bear has already been captured and moved locally within its home range, but continues to re-offend.
Examples include bears that
- access electrified bee yards
- cause property damage
- repeatedly kill livestock
In these cases, it is hoped that moving the bear far away from the area will prevent it from causing further conflicts, and potentially help bolster bear populations in the release area.
Why Study Relocated Grizzly Bears?
Although long-distance relocation has been used as a management tool in Alberta for several decades, it has always been difficult or impossible to know if relocated bears were successful in integrating into the release area.
How are these Grizzly Bears Monitored?
Starting in 2004, a sample of grizzly bears has been fitted with satellite radio collars prior to their release in the new Bear Management Area.
These collars send weekly email updates on the bears' movements, allowing staff to determine whether the bears return to their capture site, become involved in additional conflict, or die due to interactions with other bears or people.
What has the Data Shown So Far?
Preliminary data from 30 different bears indicate that females may be more likely than males to survive and settle near their release sites, and are less likely to continue conflict behaviour after translocation.
It also appears that bears released into certain Bear Management Areas may be more successful than those bears released in other areas.
Ultimately, this effort will result in new information on the success of relocations and help staff choose release sites more effectively.