Foothills Research Institute’s
GRIZZLY BEAR PROJECT (1999 – CURRENT)
Program Objective LONG-TERM GRIZZLY BEAR CONSERVATION The objective of this research program is to provide resource managers with the necessary knowledge and planning tools to ensure the long-term conservation of grizzly bears in Alberta.
Habitat Maps Goal: To map all grizzly bear habitat in Alberta.
Habitat Mapping Schedule
How?: Use remote sensing techniques to discern different habitats from satellite imagery. Conduct field checks to determine accuracy. Results: Habitat maps for the entire grizzly bear range in Alberta were completed in 2007 Remote Sensing Team led by Dr. Steven Franklin (U of Saskatchewan) and Dr. Greg McDermid (U of Calgary) Leaf Area Index
Land Cover Map
Study Location All GRIZZLY BEAR RANGE IN ALBERTA This program is taking place in western Alberta, Canada and encompasses an area of 228,160 km2 along the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains and up into the Boreal Forest. A portion of the study area lies within protected areas and allows comparisons between landscapes with different degrees of human use and resource extraction activities.
Capture and Collaring Why is this necessary?: We need grizzly bear location data to create and validate our models.
Grizzly Bear Location Data
Where?: Areas within Alberta’s grizzly bear range where grizzly bear data is currently lacking. How?: Bears are captured by ground snaring, aerial darting or culvert traps. GPS collars are fitted to bears to obtain up to 24 locations a day. Results: Not only have we obtained one of the largest databases in Alberta, we have and will continue to improve capture, drug and darting protocols that will reduce stress and injury to bears during capture. In addition, the number of illegally killed collared bears has highlighted this as being a leading threat to the survival of grizzly bears on provincial lands in Alberta. Capture Program and overall Program Coordinator is led by Gordon Stenhouse (ASRD and Foothills Research Institute)
Resource Selection Function (RSF) Maps What are they?: RSF models predict on the landscape where bears are likely to be found at certain times of the year. How are they created?: Using various habitat maps derived from satellite imagery, grizzly bear location data, and various landscape attributes (slope, aspect, soil, moisture etc.), we can determine landscape features associated with grizzly bear occurrence and predict (model) where on the landscape grizzly bears will most likely be at different times of the year (spring, summer, fall). Modeling led by Dr. Scott Nielsen (U of Alberta)
RSF Map Fall Season
+ Grizzly Bear Locations Model testing and validation
+ Landscape Attributes (slope, aspect, soil, moisture etc.)