So far in 2024, there have been significantly more reports than usual of problematic – and dangerous – grizzly-human and grizzly-animal interactions as well agricultural losses due to elk foraging.

As Alberta’s grizzly bear and elk populations continue to grow in numbers and expand their territories, negative interactions have increased in both severity and frequency. Recent conflicts between grizzly bears and humans have been predatory in nature and have not been related to the protection of cubs or food sources. Additionally, agricultural losses due to elk foraging on crops are increasing across the province, and this problem requires additional tools to manage growing elk herds in Alberta.

To protect Alberta families and communities, visitors, and agricultural producers, Alberta’s government is taking action on problem grizzlies responsible for the increasing number of negative interactions.

Alberta’s government is announcing a multi-pronged approach to solving the issue of problem and dangerous wildlife by offering a range of management tools to address challenges and keep Albertans safe.

Alberta’s government is creating a new network of wildlife management responders to help stop dangerous and deadly grizzly bear attacks on people and livestock. When a problem animal like a grizzly or elk is identified, members of the approved network will help provide rapid conflict response times across all regions of Alberta. This response could include tracking and euthanizing a problem animal, while still following all rules and regulations already in place. This is not a bear hunt; this is a measure to ensure the safety of humans and livestock.

“The loss of even one human life because of a grizzly bear attack is one too many. We are taking a proactive approach to help Albertans co-exist with wildlife through our new wildlife management program. These changes demonstrate our commitment to ensuring Albertans can safely work and recreate throughout the province.”

Todd Loewen, Minister, Forestry and Parks 

“Losses suffered due to predation can be a significant blow to ranchers and farmers. This new program will reduce the number of losses, protect farms, and help producers avoid conflicts with wildlife.”

RJ Sigurdson, Minister, Agriculture and Irrigation

In addition to the network of wildlife management responders, Alberta’s government continues to fund educational initiatives to prevent human-wildlife conflict. The Community Bear Smart Grant Program has received $100,000 in funding to help community organizations educate Albertans about bear safety.

Other initiatives include the Waterton Biosphere – Carnivores and Communities program, which offers ranchers and rural Albertans methods of preventing conflicts and losses due to carnivores. Programs like the Wildlife Aversion Program have also been successful in conditioning wildlife populations to avoid areas commonly used by people.

The WildSmart Community Program leads diverse education and outreach efforts in the Bow Valley to raise public awareness and empower citizens to coexist safely with wildlife. The Bow Valley is home more than 25,000 people and is a major corridor for grizzly bears, black bears, cougars, wolves, elk, coyotes and other large mammals.

Another way to limit negative human-grizzly interactions is to restore important habitat for a range of species, providing the space and food they need. Last year, extensive habitat enhancement work took place as part of improvements in Kananaskis parks and campgrounds, with additional projects underway.

Albertans interested in joining the network of wildlife management responders are invited to apply through the AlbertaRELM online licensing and draw applications system. Those who have been selected to participate in the program will be contacted to complete the application process. Approved problem wildlife responders will be directed to track and respond to grizzlies and other problem wildlife. This action will occur after a problem animal has been reported to wildlife enforcement officers and determined to be a risk to life, livestock or property.

“Due to the increasing number of grizzly bears and the expansion of their territories, there is a heightened safety issue for rural Alberta residents. I am pleased to see this new program from the Alberta government, our wildlife officers will now be able to respond to other important issues.”

Dave Cox, reeve, MD of Pincher Creek

Quick facts

  • In 2020 there were three attacks; 2021 recorded a total of nine attacks by black and grizzly bears, contributing to a total of 104 attacks from 2000 to 2021.
  • In 2023 and 2024 there were 120 head of livestock killed by black and grizzly bears (97 cattle, 23 sheep, one goat and 21 hogs) approved for compensation under the Wildlife Predator Compensation Program resulting from death or injury from grizzly bears. Losses amounted to $153,649 and $13.3 million in crop losses.
  • Grizzly Bear numbers have increased from approximately 800 to more than 1,150 now, causing them to move into more populated rural areas.

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