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Two Decades of Science to Provide Knowledge and Planning Tools to Ensure the Long-term Conservation of Grizzly Bears in Alberta

Over the 23 year life span of the fRI Grizzly Bear Research Program the research team has published 164 research papers in peer reviewed scientific journals to support our partners’ use and implementation of research results. This vast body of research was made possible through an outstanding team of university professors, graduate students, and researchers from across Canada and around the world who took on directed applied research questions in support of our program goal.

The fRI Research Grizzly Bear Program began in 1998 and was initiated in response to concerns expressed about the lack of knowledge and data on regional grizzly bear populations during the environmental hearings of the Cheviot Coal Mine. What started out as a directed study in a small portion of grizzly bear range in Alberta expanded both in scale and scope over the next 23 years, as we created the most comprehensive dataset on grizzly bear populations in Alberta.

Over the course of this research program there have been a number of changes that have taken place in grizzly bear management in Alberta, which included: the redrawing of BMA boundaries based on genetic analysis of populations, the first scientific population inventory of many BMAs, the 2006 suspension of the spring grizzly bear hunt in Alberta, the preparation and implementation of the first provincial grizzly bear recovery plan in 2008, the change in status of the species to Threatened in 2010, and the designation of the first core and secondary grizzly bear conservation areas with open road density thresholds. Data sets and research results from our program played an important role in all of these management actions.

 

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