A young-of-year grizzly bear cub was run over on the Trans-Canada Highway just east of Dead Man’s Flats – the first human-caused grizzly bear death in the Bow Valley this year.
The young male bruin was found dead in the ditch early Friday (May 20) morning of the May long weekend close to where the wildlife exclusion fence ends. There was no sign of its mother in the area.
“Grizzly bears are threatened in the province and so losing a young-of-year cub is a hit to the population,” said Jay Honeyman, a human wildlife conflict biologist with Alberta Parks and Environment.
“In the Bow Valley, we’ve struggled to keep bears on the landscape, so it’s unfortunate to lose one.”
Grizzly bears are listed as threatened in Alberta because of the small size of the breeding population, restricted dispersal from adjacent jurisdictions and the expectation that current and future land use and human activity will make it harder for bears.
The province, which is updating its grizzly bear count, will release an updated grizzly bear recovery plan for public review.
Provincial statistics show a total of 190 grizzly bears have died at the hands of humans in the last decade. Of the 28 bears killed last year, seven died on roads and at least another eight bears were killed illegally.
Several were also put down because they were considered a management problem, including a female grizzly bear that was breaking into vehicle in Mount Kidd RV Park in Kananaskis Country, and a male bear that killed sheep and llamas near Sundre.
Honeyman said the bear cub killed near Dead Man’s Flats was not known to provincial wildlife officers.
“This was a bit of a surprise to us because we weren’t aware of a sow with cubs being in this area,” he said. “There’s been no reports of bears surfacing again, but we assume the sow was OK because there was nothing to indicate otherwise.”
Honeyman said two young bears were killed at Dead Man’s a couple of years ago and the mother was nearby.
“It might be her, but we don’t know,” he said. “Regardless, it’s a female that’s breeding and no longer has a cub.”