Grizzly Bear


Last COSEWIC designation: May 2002
SARA risk category: Special Concern

Description: In contrast to American black bears, grizzlies have a prominent shoulder hump, concave facial profile, and long front claws. Fur colour ranges from blonde through shades of brown to nearly black.

Habitat: Grizzlies can be found from sea level to high-elevation alpine environments. In Canada they occupy habitats as diverse as temperate coastal rain forests and semi-desert Arctic tundra. Most grizzly bears eat primarily vegetation, and their habitat associations are therefore strongly seasonal and typically reflect local plant development.

Threats: There is some natural mortality in bear populations, but most grizzlies die from human activities. Populations in most areas in Canada are hunted, and licenced hunters kill over 450 grizzly bears each year. Another 100 are known to be killed by other human causes, and substantial numbers are killed and not reported. The development of roads and other linear features into grizzly bear habitat is a particular threat. Roads themselves pose little harm, but their use by humans reduces habitat effectiveness in a buffer zone around the roads.