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Grizzly conservationists criticize Alberta

Government accused of sitting on crucial data, changing role of expert who questioned hunt

Doug Payne
Conservationists have accused the Alberta government of withholding crucial data on the health of the province?s grizzly population, and of stripping a grizzly biologist and critic of the annual grizzly hunt of some of his responsibilities. As a result, they fear the province will, for the fifth year running, ignore expert advice and authorize a hunt. The government, for its part, says it?s not withholding data, and is clarifying the several roles the expert has been performing.?The decision facing [the Alberta government] involves more than just whether or not to hunt grizzlies in the spring,? Jim Pissot, the executive director of Defenders of Wildlife Canada, told The Scientist. ?It speaks to the essentials of responsible wildlife management and to the core of government accountability.?It remains unclear how many grizzlies are in Alberta. Official estimates put the number of grizzly bears at perhaps 700 (excluding national parks) out of...

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