An elk rancher near Calgary says he has lost twenty animals to grizzly bears in the past two years.

Win Niebler says the province needs to commit more resources to solving the growing problem.

Niebler said he wants to live in harmony with the grizzlies but there are more of them every year on his land near Priddis, which is about 50 kilometres southwest of Calgary.

'Especially if they have broken into your livestock herd they will come back' - elk rancher Winn Niebler

“Especially if they have broken into your livestock herd they will come back,” said Niebler, who has an elk herd of about 100. 

“And, you know, I think … there should be a mechanism in place that if bears have been in trouble once, or maximum twice, that they're not just being relocated and coming back — that they may have to be put down.”

Niebler said he also wants the province to pay for his lost animals and pitch in for electric fencing.

Grizzly hunting illegal

Gary Aikins, a rancher in Millarville, said cattle spooked by bears have trampled calves.

Aikins said he can't protect his cattle because it is against the law in Alberta to shoot grizzlies. He would like to see grizzlies taken off the threatened species list, or have more wildlife officers on the ground to relocate problem bears.

"There just isn't enough officers to take care of the problem. If they can trap them all and move them, that's fine. If they can't, you can't just take a man's livelihood away from him."

Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers should also be quicker to dispose of carcasses, which attract more bears.

Ranchers in the Foothills held a meeting last month with the government to look for solutions.