New Study Calls for Reduction in Road Density in Grizzly Bear Range
October 10, 2012
Wild Lands Advocate update, August 2012, by Nigel Douglas. Another study recently published in the Journal of Applied Ecology confirms what we already know: inappropriately high levels of access are one of the primary threats to grizzly longevity. When will the government pay attention to the growing mountain of evidence and do something to reduce access levels to the targets they themselves have set?
“Roads are known to lead to higher grizzly mortality rates through a number of mechanisms. A 1998 study of grizzly mortality in the Alberta Central Rockies Ecosystem found that 89 percent of human-caused mortalities occurred within 500 metres of a road on provincial lands, and in National Parks 100 percent of human-caused mortalities were within 200 metres of a road or trail (Benn 1998). Animals may be killed directly on roads, but more importantly roads bring people into direct contact with bears, and bears die through hunting, poaching, mistaken identity or the creation of ‘problem’ bears. Compounding the problem, roads may actually attract bears, by providing ample food opportunities and easier movement corridors, but those bears are more likely to die there. To put it simply, more roads mean more dead grizzlies.”