Action letter to Environment Minister Jason Nixon and other decision-makers
Orphaned Grizzly Cub and the Future of Alberta Grizzly Population!
Honourable Minister Jason Nixon, et al,
It’s time to step up and support Grizzly bears in Alberta!
On September 4th an adult female grizzly bear was struck by a train in Banff National Park.
The female bear known to Parks Canada as grizzly No. 143 made headlines when she appeared with two new cubs this past spring, one of which had a unique white head. That cub disappeared in June. Grizzly 143 was last seen with her remaining cub about three weeks ago by Parks Canada staff.
This most recent tragedy yet again raises the issue of grizzly bear rehabilitation, says Reno Sommerhalder. The Banff resident is a long-time bear specialist, researching and working with the animals in Canada, Alaska and Russia.
Sommerhalder, who has extensive experience in rewilding orphaned grizzly cubs, said the status of the lone cub is unknown but it is likely alive, and still young enough to be a perfect candidate for rehabilitation and release.
This action letter is sent to officials in Alberta who CAN make this happen.
The Cochrane Ecological Institute (CEI) has recently completed construction of a facility specifically designed for the rescue, rehabilitation and release of grizzly cubs. “The timing of this most recent tragedy couldn’t be more in sync with the completion of our grizzly bear rehabilitation facility,” said Lisa Dahlseide, an Alberta biologist who works with the Institute. The enclosure is isolated, surrounded by forest, and cubs will not have sight of human activity. Grizzly bear orphans are successfully rehabilitated and released in many countries and jurisdictions, including British Columbia, she said. “The Alberta government with Parks Canada now has an opportunity to allow the same.”
WildAid Canada Society helped to fund this new facility. Now we need the Alberta government to allow this important work to take place in the province.
Releasing the grizzly cub at a suitable time and location onto the Alberta landscape will boost the province’s grizzly bear population and contribute to the overall genetic diversity of the bears.
Many Albertans fully support this approach given that grizzly bears are a threatened species in Alberta and that rehabilitation and release into the wild is the most humane and logical solution.
While some grizzly bear populations in the lower 48 U.S. states have increased dramatically, Alberta’s population has seen no significant increase since the species was designated as threatened in 2010.
With your help, we can turn this around.