Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Grizzly Bears Everywhere!!

I don't know if you heard but in 2009 the Alberta Government released the results of a five year study showing that there were only 500 grizzly bears left in Alberta. This resulted in an outcry of fear that the great bear was in trouble and must be immediately added to the "threatened" species list. In fact, for the area of extreme south western Alberta, Waterton area(south of HWY 3 to U.S. border, from the B.C. border and east): 51 bears. Only 51 in all of that area? Really? If there are that few and they are known to be elusive animals, why are there so many sightings around the Cardston area alone? We aren't even talking in the mountains but just along the creek, a couple of miles out of town limits, on the golf coarse and in the open? Even making their way along a prairie river. The bald, grassy prairie!

The population is considered "dangerously small". Dangerous in what way? Here's a quick excerpt from the Cardston County website, "County Residents are reminded to be vigilant regarding Bear Safety around the County this spring. Bears have already been sighted in a number of locations throughout the County, including 2 sows with 2 & 3 cubs in the Carway area, a boar in the Carway area, a sow with cubs along Lee Creek and 501 West between Beazer and Leavitt, and a sow with cubs near Mountain View." "since the first part of May we have seen the greatest activity near or on the Montana border and pushing northeast up along the St. Mary River towards Woolford Provincial Park. Sightings in this area typically involve a Sow with a two year old cub, a large boar and a single bear which is likely a sub-adult out on it's own." " Fish and Wildlife in co-operation with U.S. Officials is also monitoring a Sow Grizzly with two cubs (two years old) that has been moving around south of Payne Lake and Big Beaver Dam Lake in the Mountain View area." Only 51 bears though, remember, but 13 of them hanging out in this small area. I know of 3 people who have seen 7 of these bears less than 10 miles apart. These aren't backwoods hunter types either. They aren't out actively trying to count the population but happened to run across them while outside. We have land in this area. I've spent a lot of time up there over the years and never had problems before. Now we are seeing the bears much more often.

If only it was just grizzlies to worry about, "Wolves have been seen on the landscape as well with some frequency, the greatest activity seems to be along the Montana Border again, a pack of four wolves (two light coloured and two dark coloured) have been reported with some frequency"

And just for your amusement, "Cougars sightings seem to be more common place and Wildlife Officers did investigate and confirm that a cougar did kill two goats on Lee Creek in April near Beazer. There has been no new occurrences of this nature, but people living along Lee Creek should be watchful and report missing stock or cougar sightings to Fish and Wildlife so the situation can be monitored."

Now don't get me wrong. I love animals!! I would never want to see a species disappear from the world. I am one of those freaky people who watch Oasis and Animal Planet on a regular basis. However, I do believe that this study was flawed. I don't think the population of grizzly bears in the southwestern corner of Alberta have been properly counted. How can they be? A lot of these areas are mountainous and you can't tell me that the bear census takers climbed every mountain, traversed every path and found them all. Oh PLEASE!!!!!


Nonna Beach

Bears are elusive animals and I concur with your conclusions about how many are in the area. I am also afraid that a fatal attack will occur before the powers that be rethink their position.

I love animals too and feel very strongly about keeping them in the wild where they belong, happily procreating, foraging for food, raising their young and living out their lives the way God intended !