Jim Eglinski, Member of Parliament for Yellowhead, on behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced the important partnership between Parks Canada and the Foothills Research Institute (fRI) on a three-year Grizzly Bear Habitat Study in Jasper National Park.
“Our Government is committed to taking practical action to help conserve and protect one of Canada’s iconic animals. With enhanced opportunities for Canadians to experience the natural wonders of their national parks, we are helping to inspire an appreciation for nature, and build a community of stewards for these protected lands,” said Jim Eglinski, Member of Parliament for Yellowhead.
Through the study, Parks Canada will gain important insight into grizzly bear health, population trends and habitat use patterns. Through research initiatives like this, Parks Canada remains at the leading edge of bear management and conservation.
“Foothills Research Institute will be working with an integrated team of scientists to gain a better understanding of grizzly bear ecology in Jasper National Park, and how bears are using this habitat. Concurrently, we will be studying the grizzly bear population in an adjacent area to the park where different types of activities occur. Comparing these two study areas with data that spans over 15 years, will allow us to learn how bears and humans can co-exist on a shared landscape. This type of research undertaking would not be possible without the long-standing partnership with Parks Canada," stated Gordon B. Stenhouse, Research Scientist and Grizzly Bear Program Leader, Foothills Research Institute.
Parks Canada and FRI have worked collaboratively for more than 16 years with research scientists to gain improved understanding of grizzly bear ecology within the Yellowhead Ecosystem, of which Jasper National Park is one part.
- Grizzly bears are an important indicator of ecosystem health in the mountain national parks. In Jasper National Park, the population is estimated at 100 to 120 animals.
- The FRI Grizzly Bear Research Program was created in 1999 to provide knowledge and planning tools to land and resource managers to ensure the long-term conservation of grizzly bears in Alberta. Key to its efforts are sound scientific field research, practical results and a large-scale or “landscape level” approach towards grizzly bear conservation.
- Eight to 10 grizzly bears will be captured and fitted with GPS satellite radio collars. The collars are equipped with remote release mechanisms to eliminate the need to re-capture the bears to remove the collars (see above photo).
- The grizzly bear study locations include areas south of Highway 16 in Jasper National Park and in an area adjacent to the Park in the province of Alberta. Temporary area closures will be in place for visitor safety within the park during the spring season.