To thrive, grizzlies require a large-scale landscape in a relatively natural state. The escalation of development and human activities in southern Alberta is leading to increasing conflicts between people and grizzlies. There is an urgent need to understand the impact that development and human presence is having on the existence of grizzlies.
An example of the often negative effects of bear/human interactions is Skoki ("Bear #16"), who now makes his home at the Calgary Zoo. Skoki was removed from the wild after he became habituated to "people food" - and paid a surprise visit to a Lake Louise bakery!
Although captivity means Skoki remains alive and his adaptation to captivity has surprised even the biologists, it is a very sad result overall since his genetics have been lost forever from the grizzly population.
In 1994, the Eastern Slopes Grizzly Bear Project began research on the links between increased human presence in the Bow River Watershed and grizzly bear habitat use and mortality. Since 1999, the Calgary Zoo Conservation Fund has been contributing yearly funds to monitor radio-collared bears. Data on grizzly bear movements and activities will be used to develop a management and conservation plan.
The Zoo's Conservation Fund will continue to support this valuable project.